January Player of the Month: Siow Yee Xian
The bespectacled-Melakan enjoyed a exceptional finish to the British Junior Open as he exceeded expectations by reaching the semi-finals. He also helped Malaysia to a joint third placed finish at the Asian Junior Team Championships by winning all his matches and is deservingly SRAM’s January Player of the Month. SIOW Yee Xian would not have looked back fondly at 2018 to say the least. The lanky Melakan blew a chance to win the Under-19 title at the Asian Junior Individual Championships and also could not step up when needed as Malaysia suffered a quarter-final defeat to the Czech Republic at the World Junior Team Championships. But Yee Xian knows just how to put disappointment behind him as he made sure not to have any regrets by delivering sensational performances in both the British Juniors and the Asian Junior Teams.
First, he gave Czech’s Ondrej Vorlicek an 11-9, 11-2, 11-1 thumping in the quarter-finals of the British Juniors to make the semi-finals for the first time ever. It was sweet revenge for Yee Xian who was beaten by Vorlicek in the team meet of the world juniors last year. He then put up feisty challenge to home favourite Nick Wall before losing 6-11, 11-9, 4-11, 9-11 in the semi-finals. Yee Xian was also beaten 8-11, 5-11, 2-11 by Egypt’s Omar El Torkey in the third place playoff. It was nevertheless still a remarkable achievement as no Malaysian boy had made the semi-finals of the Under-19 category since Ng Eain Yow in 2016. Yee Xian then played his part well as he won all the matches he played although Malaysia fell short in their defeat to India in the semi-finals of the Asian Junior Team meet. For Yee Xian however, the run at the British Juniors was the one that mattered most to him and it was a shot of confidence that he could take on the world’s best.
“I’ve never even made the quarter-finals of the British Juniors before this and I’m really happy that I made it until the semi-finals this time,” revealed the world No. 361. “Of course it was a bit disappointing the team didn’t do so well in the Asian meet but its a learning experience as a team. It’s just like my own experience when I lost to Vorlicek at the world junior teams last year. I know the team will learn from this defeat and grow stronger together for the next tournament. As for myself, my next target is to win the Asian Junior Individual and to go on to the World Junior Championships and do well as well. I certainly feel that I have a chance after the British Juniors. I feel that I’ve proven to myself that I can compete among the best and it’s really a shot of self-belief,” added Yee Xian.
The Asian and World Juniors will be Yee Xian’s last junior events as he turns 19 in October so he will surely be looking to cap his junior career on a high. But for he now he will deservingly earn the honour as SRAM’s first recipient of Player of the Month for the month of January.