BorneoPost Online | Borneo , Malaysia, Sarawak Daily News » Squash Largest English Daily In Borneo Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:34:08 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Kuching, Miri and Sabah share the spoils at CMS Squash Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:46:48 +0000

KUCHING: Host Kuching, Miri and Sabah captured two titles each at the third leg of the CMS Sarawak Junior Squash Circuit – the CMS Borneo Junior Open – which ended at the Sarawak Club’s squash courts here last Sunday.

Winners of various categories in the tournament posing with (from left) Lau, Sim, Karim, Chee, Curtis and Idris after the prize presentation. — Photo by Davidson Kho

In the Boys Under-19 final that saw two Sukma XVII players from Kuching slugging it out for the crown, it was Marcus Sim who triumphed over Jess Tay 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 11-5).

Puvendran Subramaniam of Kedah finished in third place after he beat Selangor’s Eugene Heng 3-0 (11-6, 11-7, 14-12) in the play-off match.

Kuching’s second title was delivered by Gregory Chan who edged Miri challenger Chai Hong Jie 3-2 (9-11, 11-8, 13-11, 6-11, 13-11) in the Boys U11 final while Caleb Lau Hui Xuan of Sibu beat teammate Hi Jia Rong 3-0 (11-5, 11-8, 11-8).

Jessica Keng of Sabah played up to expectations to lift the Girls U15 title after she beat Sibu’s Carina Loi Jing 3-0 (11-1, 11-9, 11-7). Third and fourth were Zoe Ting of Kuching and Chloe Chieng Shiao Shuen of Miri respectively.

Yee Xin Ying capped a double win for the Sabah contingent by beating Nathalie Sim of Kuching 3-2 (4-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7) in the Girls U11 final.

In the Girls U19 final, Ma Si Yi from Miri, who represented Sarawak in Sukma XVII this year, was a class above her opponent as she eased to a 3-0 (11-1, 11-2, 11-7) victory over teammate Wong Su Lin.

The play-off for third and fourth placings saw Kuching’s Charlize Goh beating Sibu’s Josephine Yii 3-1 (7-11, 14-12, 11-8. 11-9).

Miri’s second title was won by Martin Kueh Tze Wah who was made to sweat by his teammate Timothy Ling in the Boys U15 final.

Kueh lost the first set 6-11 but recovered to take the next two sets 11-5, 11-6. However, Ling was not just about to throw in the towel yet as he rebounded to win the fourth set 9-11, forcing Kueh to play in the decider where the latter won 11-9.

Muhammad Harris Ramlee was the only player from Semenanjung Malaysia to win a title in this tournament.

The Kuala Lumpur lad overcame the opposition from teammate Danial Nurhaqiem Shahrul Izham 3-1 (11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10) in the Boys U13 final. Finishing in third and fourth spots were Kayden Liaw of Sabah and Nathan Kueh of Miri respectively.

Assistant Minister of Housing Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah closed the event and gave away the prizes.

Also present were Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) vice president Peter Chee, official Subramaniam Kaniappan, Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak president Robert Lau Hui Yew who is also SRAM vice president, CMSB Group managing director Datuk Richard Curtis, Squash Association of Kuching president Sim Chin Kheng and organising chairman Idris Sulaiman.

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Watch, compete and learn Sat, 13 Sep 2014 16:55:54 +0000

KUCHING: The Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) believe that young players in the state can learn a lot by watching and competing at the on-going 8th CMS Borneo Junior Open.

This was the wish expressed by Emmanuel David who is SRAS committee member in charge of selection and competition. He said it is the best time for youngsters in Sarawak who aspire to become professional squash players to learn from the best young players in Malaysia.

“We have top national juniors like Sabah’s Jessica Keng, who is the national Girls U13 number one, and S Puvendran of Kedah who is ranked among the top 16 in the national Boys U19. I hope youngsters will not miss seeing them in action,” he added.

Tournament organisers also wish they could have more courts to use.

“A larger scale tournament is possible should we have a place with more courts that host more matches in the future. Squash is on the acsend here in Sarawak and I hope many will notice that,” Emmanuel revealed.

The top three players in all categories in the tournament – Boys/Girls Under-19, 17, 15, 13, 12 and 11 – stand to receive cash prizes from RM100 to RM400.

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Jessie Keng eyes Girls U15 title Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:31:34 +0000

KUCHING: Rising teenage squash player Jessie Keng of Sabah is confident of a podium finish in the CMS Borneo Cup 2014 Kuching leg which started at the Sarawak Club squash courts yesterday.

Jessie Keng of Sabah is confident of finishing on the podium in the Girls U15 competition.

The 12-year-old student of SJK (C) Lok Yuk, Likas told The Borneo Post she is up for the task and expressed her confidence that she will be able to win the trophy for the U15 category.

“I believe I will be able to overcome the challenge in this tournament and so far the first day has been going very well for me,” said Keng who had been playing squash for four years.

Keng gained her star status
after winning the U12 title at the Indian Open last year and finished sixth at the British Junior Open earlier this year.

For the 17-year-old reigning champion Marcus Sim, he is back in Kuching to defend the Boys U19 title that he won at the same championship last year.

“I have returned to defend the title and it seems that the
challenge is a bit tougher this year with the likes of Jess Tay and Byron Tan,” said Sim who is a student of Bukit Jalil Sports School.

“The challenge is a bit tougher compared to last year and we’ll see how it goes at the end of this tournament,” said Sim.

Sim had played in several tournaments earlier this year such as the Penang Junior Open and the Hong Kong Open.

He however revealed that the tournament this week will be the last for him this year as he will shift his focus towards the SPM at the end of the year.

The three-day tournament which ends tomorrow saw the participation of over 140 players from all over Malaysia.

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Bumper crop of squash players Wed, 03 Sep 2014 16:17:21 +0000

SIBU: Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) president Robert Lau Hui Yew is pleased with the increasing number of young players taking part in the CMS Squash Circuit 2nd leg held here recently.

Winners of the Girl’s Under-17 category pose with Lau (right).

He attributed this to the grassroots development programme that SRAS have aggressively pursued in the past three to four years.

“We are reaping the dividends now and hopefully the coaches, the officials, the parents and all those concerned would continue to work hard to ensure that the grassroots development programme continue,” he said.

“Combined, we have 43 players in the Under-9 categories (boys and girls) and most of them are homegrown. That alone is certainly a big contribution factor towards the development of the sport.”

These players, he continued, came from all over the state including those from Bau, Kota Samarahan, Miri, Kuching and host Sibu.

Lau also noted with interest the general mix of players from the different communities in the tournament.

“Before, the sport generally attracted players from the urban communities only. Now, we have the Iban and the Bidayuh communities showing keen interest in vying for supremacy in the sport. This is a rich and a healthy trend which should be encouraged and promoted.”

He said SRAS officials were currently going to St Thomas, St Theresa and St Joseph schools in Kuching and SJK Sacred Heart English School in Sibu to recruit players from the Iban, the Bidayuh and the Malay communities to join the programme.

“Some of these players also grabbed the top spots in the 2nd leg of the CMS circuit. There are lots of talented players out there and the onus is for us to tap and scout these players for back-up.”

Lau also expressed satisfaction that player registration for the CMS 2nd leg hit the century mark for the first time.

“The Miri-leg had also attracted well over 100 players and hopefully, the Kuching-leg, slated to be held from Sept 12 to 14, will also attract an equal number of participants.”

Lau said the Kuching-leg would also be opened to players from Penang, Selangor and even Singapore and it would be a tougher challenge for the players to win the titles.

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Josephine scores comeback win at CMS Squash Circuit Tue, 02 Sep 2014 16:15:45 +0000

SIBU: State player Josephine Yii came back from the brink of defeat twice to edge Miri’s Wong Su Lin 3-2 (7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-3) to lift the Girl’s Under-17 title in the CMS Squash Circuit Sibu Leg held here recently.

Josephine Yii

The victory was kind of a redemption for Yii who has been struggling with injuries for the past month.

“I have just recovered from my knee cap injuries and, hopefully, the nagging pain will not recur again,” the 16-year-old student from Sibu SMK Methodist said.

This was the fifth time that the two rivals crossed swords with little separating them.

“Initially, I was bit of nervous when the match started. However, as the match progressed, I managed to keep my composure and played to my true abilities,” Josephine recalled after the match.

The turning point was in the fourth set when she fought back from the brink.

Wong was leading 10-8 but Yii rallied to level to 10-10 before winning the deuce at 12-10.

Josephine had missed the first leg of the CMS circuit held in Miri due to her injuries.

She injured her knee cap after competing in the 2nd leg of the CIMB National Circuit in Kuala Lumpur in early May.

She then took a three-month break from squash upon the advice of doctors.

However, in between, she took up swimming and basketball.

She represented her school which bagged the Sibu Division Basketball Under-17 and Under-18 titles.

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Nicol strolls into quarterfinals Wed, 20 Aug 2014 17:06:34 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Women’s world number one Datuk Nicol David strolled into the quarterfinals of the 2014 CIMB Malaysian Open squash championship by defeating India’s Joshana Chinappa 11-4, 11-3, 11-8 in straight sets.

She will meet Hong Kong’s Annie Au in the final eight.

Nicol was the only Malaysian women who marched into today’s quarterfinals.

In the men’s category, Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan was Malaysia’s sole representative in the quarterfinals.

Mohd Nafiizwan marched to the quarterfinals after compatriot, Mohd Azlan Iskandar retired from the game when Mohd Nafiizwan was leading 2-1. — Bernama


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Defending champion Nicol contributes Malaysia’s second gold Tue, 29 Jul 2014 23:11:06 +0000

Datuk Nicol David hits a return during her women’s squash singles final against England’s Laura Massaro. — Bernama photo

Malaysia’s squash queen and world number one Datuk Nicol David put on another “A-game” to successfully defend her title and contribute Malaysia’s second gold medal of the 20th Commonwealth Games.

It was also Nicol’s second gold medal since her participation in the Commonwealth Games.

“It is great to win the Commonwealth Games medal once again. And, it is even a greater feeling to contribute Malaysia’s second gold medal in this year’s Games. To actually win it for the second time is such an amazing feat.

“It’s such a high being at the Commonwealth Games. It’s the pinnacle of any squash multi-sport game to win this gold,” said the 30-year-old world champion.

In the final, Nicol defeated arch rival and world number two, Laura  Massaro of England in straight sets, 12-10, 11-2, 11-5 in a tense 44-minute match held at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.

“As expected it was a very tense match against Laura. She is a tough contender. The first game was very crucial but although I won it 12-10, I had to push myself in the second and third games. I had to make sure I took control of the game and avoid mistakes,” said Nicol.

In the first game, Laura took control of the early proceedings but Nicol managed to make amends for her earlier mistakes and fought back to pinch it at 12-10.

Nicol played some brilliant shots and displayed her “A- game” in the next two games to breeze through 11-2 and 11-5.

The bronze medal for the women’s squash singles event went to New Zealand’s Joelle King who defeated Alison Waters of England 11-7, 11-7, 11-5. — Bernama

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Nicol hopes gold will lift Malaysian spirits Tue, 29 Jul 2014 23:10:31 +0000

Datuk Nicol David

GLASGOW: Datuk Nicol David and Nick Matthew successfully defended their Commonwealth Games singles squash titles with victories at the Scotstoun Sports Campus on Monday.

Malaysian world number one Nicol recovered from a slow start to beat England’s Laura Massaro 12-10, 11-2, 11-5 in just 44 minutes while Matthew emerged from a five-game thriller to beat compatriot James Willstrop 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5 in one hour and 40 minutes.

Afterwards Nicol hoped her triumph would provide Malaysia with a much-needed lift following the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 and the missing MH370.

“It is a tough time for Malaysia and our nation,” said Nicol, who is now based in Amsterdam.

“Games like this really bring our spirits up. We are working together for something bigger than ourselves and we hope our contribution can bring a bit of a boost to our country.

“I live in Amsterdam and people were worried I was flying back to Malaysia. It was a little bit daunting when I heard it back and my heart goes out to the families of people were on that flight.

“It’s always tough playing Laura, there’s always a fine line when you play her.”

Massaro could not build on a good start where she led 8-4 and 9-7 in the first game, and there was some controversy in the third game when the English woman was hit in the face by Nicol’s racquet and had a stroke awarded against her.

Massaro appealed to the video referee but the decision was not overturned and Nicol never looked back to triumph.

“The first game was the one to rue, you can’t let those leads slip against Nicol,” she said. “I didn’t feel the ball was near where Nicol’s racquet was and I got a bit of a bruise from where she hit me.”

Joelle King of New Zealand, who lost out to Nicol, beat Alison Waters of England comfortably to take the bronze medal with a 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 win in just 42 minutes.

Matthew and Willstrop were close to ending their dreams of glory in Glasgow just six weeks ago with the former having surgery on his knee and the latter on his hip.

The victor kissed his knee at the end of a tussle that was closely-fought and unpredictable between two players who have openly expressed their ill-feeling towards one another in the past.

“It was the best experience of my life,” said Matthew. “Five weeks ago today I had the operation on my knee and it was fifty-fifty whether I’d make it. That was being kind and giving me something to aim for.

“I had to play attritional caveman squash and was on Plan Z. I said to James at the end that he’s a winner and we both nearly didn’t make it so can come out of it with immense credit.”

“I was sat in a café crying six weeks ago as I was not sure if I would play squash again,” added Willstrop.

“We’ve worked so hard the last few weeks ago, I will get through the Commonwealths and then have some more stuff sorted. Me and Nick have not always like each other but there’s always been mutual respect.”

England won all three medals in the men’s singles after Peter Barker beat Saurav Ghosal earlier on Monday. — AFP

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Nicol David secure second gold medal for Malaysia Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:58:00 +0000

GLASGOW: World number one Datuk Nicol David won the second gold medal for Malaysia after edging Laura Massaro from England at the women’s squash singles final at the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. -Bernama

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Nicol David to meet Jenny in Quarterfinals Sat, 26 Jul 2014 01:01:01 +0000

GLASGOW: Malaysia’s Datuk Nicol Ann David booked her berth in the squash quarterfinals of the 20th Commonwealth Games on Friday.

The 30-year-old world number one defeated New Zealand’s Megan Craig in straight set of 11-7, 11-6 and 11-5 in 26 minutes at Scotstoun Squash Centre, here in the second round today.

“It is my first time playing against Megan, she got some good results recently and she played quite solid in the beginning.

“In the first game, it was good to get a feel of how she played and then I got my bearings a bit better on the court as well. As the match went on, I was pleased with my game and hopefully will step it up in the next match tomorrow,” said Nicol when met by Bernama.

Nicol added that she’s looking forward to tomorrow’s quarterfinals.

“…of course I am going to prepare myself for the quarterfinal match and will bring in my ‘A’ game tomorrow,” she said.

Nicol will be playing against England’s Jenny Duncalf, who defeated Canada’s Sam Cornett in straights set of 11-4, 11 -5 and 11-7 in booking her quarterfinal berth.

In the men’s singles, Mohd Nafiizwan Mohd Adnan was shown the exit by world number 10, Peter Barker of England in straight sets.

Mohd Nafiizwan lost to Peter in 7-11, 6-11 and 3-11.

“I have done my very best but he is more consistent. I’m looking foward to the mixed doubles after this,” he said.

Malaysia’s number two women’s squash player, Low Wee Wern and Delia Arnold and men’s singles Ivan Yuen will be playing later today in the quest to book their berths in the last eight. — BERNAMA

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Commonwealth Games: David reaches women’s squash last 16 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 01:56:22 +0000

Nicol David. -AFP File photo

GLASGOW: Malaysia’s Nicol David needed to make a hasty change of kit before being able to book her place in the last 16 of the women’s squash singles of the Commonwealth Games with an 11-6, 11-2, 11-1 victory over Vanessa Florens.

The world number one and reigning champion emerged dressed in white along with her opponent from Mauritius but she opted to change into a yellow patterned outfit to suit the demands made by television.

“With glass courts, for TV it is much better to have two separate colours so the viewers can identify who is playing,” she said.

“I’m sure it is difficult for spectators as the colours are similar.

“I was originally in white. But yellow is probably a lucky colour now. It is the national colour of my country too.

“But I’m not sure I can wear the kit in the next round due to sponsorship.”

That next match is against Megan Craig of New Zealand on Friday after she beat Safina Madhani of Kenya 11-1, 11-2, 11-2.

David’s rival for gold, Laura Massaro of England is also safely into the last 16 after she beat Lynette Vai of Papua New Guinea in straight sets and will next play Nicolette Fernandes of Guyana.

In the men’s section, defending champion Nick Matthew surived a gruelling schedule to progress.

The 33-year-old carried the flag at Wednesday’s opening ceremony at Celtic Park and then had to play matches in the morning and evening.

He comfortably beat Xavier Koening in the round of 64 before being pushed harder in the round of 32 by Jamaica’s Chris Binnie who made life difficult for Matthew to close out a 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 victory.

Matthew conceded it was the perfect test of his fitness after recently returning following knee surgery

“Even in the preparation I’ve not played twice on the same day so it was good for me both physically and mentally,” he said.

“I’ve had two matches under my belt and the legs feel good. I’m aware there is a notch up so I can’t just say I feel good.

“But it was not my best performance today though, I don’t think it was firing on all cylinders.”

Matthew will now take on Alan Clyne in an England v Scotland match-up after the world number 35 won a marathon one hour and 50 minute contest against Harinder Pal Sandhu, eventually triumphing 12-14, 11-9, 13-15, 11-1, 11-9 with drama on match point as the Indian denied after asking for a review into a let call.

“That decision was probably only 60 seconds but it felt like five minutes,” said Clyne. “It was very tense and it is certainly unusual to finish a match like that.

“I need a big recovery now to be ready for the next match. Mentally I just needed to keep my focus but fortunately the home crowd got behind me to pick me up when needed. It’s probably what decided it in the end.”- AFP

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SuperSquashers Social III at Sarawak Club this weekend Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:25:57 +0000

KUCHING: The third edition of SuperSquashers Social will take place at the Sarawak Club this weekend.

Kho holding a banner to promote the SuperSquashers Social on July 19-20 at the Sarawak Club. Some 80 participants including current and ex-national and state players are expected to participate in the event.

The Junior Elite and Elite categories of the event will feature state and national players past and present.

SuperSquashers founder and former national player Andre Kho said the two-day event on July 19 and 20 is expected to attract 80 participants in various categories including Under-12A, Under-12B (novice), Boys Under-18, Girls Under-18, Men and Women categories.

The Junior Elite category is strictly for junior state players.

Kho, who is also SuperSquashers chief coach, said the tournament aims to promote a healthy lifestyle through the game of squash, serve as a platform for enthusiasts to network and strengthen junior development in the sport.

This event is supported by Squash Racquet Association Sarawak (SRAS) and the Sarawak State Sports Council (MSNS).

“I have seen a steady increase in the number of squash players over this year and I hope that the sport will realise its potential as a fun and favourite sport to all,” Kho said in a statement to The Borneo Post yesterday.

He highlighted that the series so far has attracted many new faces and he was excited with the standards of players on display.

“We have also collaborated with Gym Box who will be conducting free preview classes on MMA, Core Fusion as well as Zumba.

“Through these activities, we hope to show the public that living a healthy lifestyle can be fun,” Kho said.

Those interested can visit SuperSquashers on Facebook.

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Squash association looks to the future Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:34:08 +0000

KUCHING: The Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) wants all their young players with potential to get as much exposure as possible.

An effective way, according to Emmanuel David who is SRAS committee member in charge of selection and competition, is to sent them for tournaments.

“In sports, exposure is equally important as training. We really need to see our youngsters who have the potential to go far in squash to test their mantle against the very good players out there,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He revealed that a few youngsters as young as six years-old, whom SRAS have identified, have participated in a few national tournaments just this year alone.

The stumbling block working against the plan to groom more quality squash players is funding.

Most of the young players have to depend on self-funding by their parents just to be active in the sport. Then there is the travelling cost from Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia, where most of the national tournaments are held.

“We are in the process of looking for more sponsors to fund our activities. I hope many out there will acknowledge that we do this just to help the youngsters here in the state and the development of squash in the state itself,” Emmanuel appealed.

Sarawak have always been one of the states in Malaysia which produced national players such as Azlan Iskandar, June Tiong, Jo-Ann Jee and Rachael Goh.

Sarawak’s most recent squash sensation is Sanjay Singh Chal who won the gold medal in the men’s singles at last month’s Sukma in Perlis.

Emmanuel is also hoping that a squash academy can be established in the near future to continue the state’s proud tradition in the sports of squash.

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Si Yi takes national junior squash title Sun, 15 Jun 2014 23:11:12 +0000

Lau (left) presenting the CIMB Junior Squash Development Programme incentive to Si Yi.

SIBU: Sarawak’s top woman squash player Ma Si Yi has added another feather to her cap when she emerged the Girl’s Under-15 champion at the Malaysian Junior Open squash championship held in Penang recently.

But Si Yi, who is from Miri, had to dig deep before beating Penang’s Nur Aliah Izzati 3-1 (11-9, 11-8, 10- 12, 12-10).

The victory cemented her reputation as the best female player in the state and also earned her a coveted trip to England in January 2015 to take part in the prestigious British Junior Open.

“It was a hard fought victory and I am really happy to have nailed my fi rst Under-15 title,” said Si Yi, who was the Under-9 and Under-11 champion in the past.

Victory was also sweet for Si Yi and helped her to forget the nightmare she encountered during the recent Perlis Sukma when she lost heavily to a more senior player Rachel Arnold in the fi rst round.

“It seems quite impossible to beat Rachel who is fi ve years my senior.

Nevertheless, I will draw from all my experience gained for future championships and, hopefully, can help Sarawak shine in the Sukma squash event,” she added.

Another Sarawakian, Caleb Lau from Sibu, also provided a glimmer of hope of taking the Boy’s Under-11 title before losing to Au Lap Man from Hong Kong 1-3 (11-7, 2-11, 2-11, 7-11).

Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) president Robert Lau Hui Yew was happy with the performance of the Sarawak players.

“Sarawak players have always returned with at least one title to show.

This year is of no exception and al l of us in the squash fraternity ought to feel proud for Si Yi.

” The Malaysia Junior Open 2014 attracted players from Iran, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia and Papua New Guinea.

“This tournament is of Platinum category, the highest category sanct ioned by Asia Squash Federation and there are 10 groups of players consisting of Boys and Girls-Under 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19 taking part in the championship,” Lau added.

He said CIMB Foundation had agreed to sponsor any Malaysia player who wins any of the age group category to the British Junior Open 2 015 and that incentive was the main carrot that attracted so many top players in Malaysia to take part.

Sarawak sent a big contingent of 31 players to take part in all age groups.


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Squash girls crash out, boys cruise into semi-finals Wed, 28 May 2014 17:34:57 +0000

KANGAR: Sarawak’s hopes of progressing to the semi-finals of the women’s squash team event were dashed yesterday when they lost 1-2 to Kuala Lumpur at the squash centre of the Perlis Sports Complex.

Ma Si Yi was unable to find her rhythm in the first singles and lost 7-11, 7-11, 5-11 to Rachel Mae Arnold while Jean Wong stretched Andrea Lee to five sets in the second singles, losing 12-10, 2-11, 11-8, 4-11, 3-11.

The third set did not matter anymore for Kuala Lumpur but 12-year-old Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi was no easy nut to crack for Danielle Wee in the third singles, losing 6-11, 5-11 and 7-11.

The Sarawak girls had opened their campaign with a 3-0 loss to Kedah but they beat Terengganu 2-1 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the boys’ quest for the team gold stayed on track as they secured their third straight win in Group A, beating Pahang 3-0.

Sanjay Singh Chal clinched the first point for Sarawak, beating Nik Ali 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 and Afeeq Abideen Ismail tamed Yovinshen 11-3, 11-14, 11-7, 11-6 to give his team a 2-0 lead.

Jess Tay wrapped up the 3-0 victory for Sarawak but it took him four sets to overcome Calyveen Chong 11-7, 8-11, 14-12, 11-6 in the third singles.

Already assured of the semi-finals berth after chalking up two wins, beating Negeri Sembilan and Perak both by 3-0, the boys are expected to top the table standings after meeting Penang in today’s final group match.

Meanwhile, in women’s hockey, Sarawak collected a point when they snatched a 0-0 draw with Pahang in a Group A match.

Thus far, they have collected four points from one win (1-0 against Negeri Sembilan), one draw and one defeat (0-1 to Terengganu).

“Our girls encountered the same problem again, the finishing was poor and they were not composed in front of goal,” said head coach C Sivasubramaniam.

He hoped the girls can raise their game in the remaining matches against Johor today and Sabah on May 31.

They will need to win both matches to have any realistic chance of making the semi-finals as Terengganu now leads the table standing with 10 points from three wins and a draw after playing four games.

Johor are second with six points and third-placed Negeri Sembilan have similar points as Sarawak while Pahang and Sabah are fifth and last in the group.

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Beng Hee through to final of 2014 HKFC international squash tournament Fri, 23 May 2014 23:00:38 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: National men’s squash player Ong Beng Hee marched into the final of the 2014 Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC) International Squash Tournament today.

In the semi-final match held at the HKFC squash court, the third seed received a tough fight against suprise package, Leo Au of Hong Kong before emerging victorious in 10-12, 11-3, 11-9 and 11-7 in 59 minutes, according to the tournament’s website

Beng Hee will meet another Hong Kong player, Max Lee, in the final on Saturday.

Fourth seeded Lee had earlier pulled off a major upset by defeating second seed, Adrian Grant of England 11-6, 11-8 and 11-5 in the other semi-final encounter. –BERNAMA

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Nicol back on track as a world-beater Tue, 20 May 2014 17:35:48 +0000

KINGSTON UPON HULL, United Kingdom: Datuk Nicol David’s recapture of the British Open has raised hopes that she could become the first player ever to lose and win the world title in the same year.

The Malaysian’s performance in a 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 win against Laura Massaro in an outstanding final in Hull, on England’s northeast coast, on Sunday was her best for many months, underlining that she is still the world’s best player and may yet remain so for a while.

The world number one needed to be in top form against an excellent challenge from the still-improving Englishwoman, who unexpectedly succeeded Nicol as world champion in Penang last month.

As that tournament was a delayed version of the 2013 World Championship, and because a 2014 World Championship likely to be arranged for November, Nicol may have a chance of atoning quite quickly for her upsetting home town loss.

“This British Open was something I particularly wanted to go for. And finding my form and bringing it back to where it should be was great,” said Nicol, who has now won the title five times.

She might have added that it is also crucially important for her morale, and for her belief, at the age of 30, that she may still be able to dominate the WSA Tour.

“I am really pleased to beat Laura,” Nicol said.

“She played great squash, and didn’t let up at any point. I had to fight my way at every point.”

Then she added the remark which hinted at why the British Open, for all its status, history, and importance, could actually be a stepping stone to something greater.

“It means the world to me,” she said.

Though the meaning was perhaps unconscious, the words hinted that the famous 92-year-old event has offered Nicol the momentum to rehabilitate herself as world champion again.

To do that though she will have to deal with a Massaro whose approach is dangerously thoughtful.

“I was aware that Nicol hadn’t been at her best once or twice recently. I wanted to play at the top of my form, against her at the top of her form, and to measure where I am,” she said.

“I think that’s what happened. I think Nicol brought her best level. I don’t think I could have done an awful lot more. I don’t think she could have done an awful lot more either. She deserves to be number one, but I deserve to be near her in the rankings.”

Part of Nicol’s better performance at this event was that she was far freer of the pressure of expectations, and was able to adopt a professionally blinkered mindset.

“I put my head down and stuck to what I was doing,” she said.

“That was why I was able to put the pressure on her as much as I could.”

Nicol now has a chance to galvanise herself. There is a break in the tour calendar, which will be followed by other significant stepping stones, such as the Hong Kong Open in August and the US Open in October. She also has a philosophy which may help her transcend the pressure when it increases again.

“My ambition is not to win as many titles as I can,” seven-times world champion Nicol said.

“This is a sport which has so much to it that every time I go on court I can learn something. So my main aim is more about understanding myself through squash.” — AFP

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Nicol through, Wee Wern shown the exit Sat, 17 May 2014 16:46:22 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: National squash queen and world number one player, Datuk Nicol David moved closer ahead of clinching her fifth British Open as she cruised into the semi-final of the tournament held at the Sports Arena in University of Hull, England.

It was however a different ball game for national number two Low Wee Wern as she was defeated by world number three Raneem El Weleily of Egypt.

Top seeded Nicol only took 39 minutes to dispatch 11th seed, Egyptian Omneya Abdel Kawy with a 11-7, 12-10 and 11-4 win in the quarter-final early yesterday, according to the tournament’s website

Nicol will meet fifth seeded Alison Water of Britain in the semi-final.

Meanwhile, Wee Wern crashed out from the tournament after losing 5-11, 6-11 and 8-11 against Raneem.

“Played better in the third game but Raneem was very sharp. Overall, pleased at making the quarterfinals of the British Open for the first time and hopefully more to come. Heading back tomorrow. Good luck to Nicol David for the rest of the week!” Wee Wern tweeted. — Bernama

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Cool Nicol cruises into British Open q-finals Fri, 16 May 2014 17:38:05 +0000

KINGSTON UPON HULL, United Kingdom: Datuk Nicol David’s coolly carved out 11-6, 13-11, 11-4 victory over Sarah-Jane Perry which carried her to the quarter-finals of the British Open included a 24th birthday gift to the hard-hitting but tempestuous Englishwoman.

It took the form of exemplary focus and patience, which helped the Malaysian world number one chisel her way through a difficult second game in which she saved a game point.

Had Perry been able to adopt some of those qualities herself, she could have caused Nicol even more trouble than she did; instead she had to settle for what might have been and some idea of what might help her do even better in future.

Nicol, too, may take important things from the match.

This was her first outing on an all-glass court since losing her world title last month, and she dealt comfortingly well with the uncertainties of new conditions, with a crowd cheering for her opponent, and with important moments in which she let leads slip.

“I hadn’t played her before, so it was a case of getting used to what she was doing with the ball,” Nicol said. “Because her hands are really good, and you have to be ready for what’s coming.

“Once I got used to a certain angle or a certain space I was settling down a bit better – but without doubt she played really well. I had to dig deep, but I know I have to keep going, and to take the lead and take it right through. Happy birthday to her!”

The first game saw Perry angered by a refereeing decision at 6-6, immediately lose five rallies in a row to drop it 11-6.

The pivotal second game saw her get a warning for dissent at 5-7, which seemed to make her focus better and which was followed by her surging to 9-7 and to 10-9.

That game point was saved when Nicol’s speed of foot pressured Perry into putting a volley drop shot down. After that several disciplined rallies pulled the favourite away from difficulty and into a two-game lead.

Nicol next plays Omneya Abdel Kawy in a repeat of the 2010 world final at Sharm el-Sheikh.

That became possible after the 11th-seeded Egyptian, one of the most skilful wielders of a racket the women’s game has seen, came from two games down and saved two match points during an improbable survival.

These dramas happened in a 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11 victory over Camille Serme, the sixth-seeded French player. — AFP

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Nicol, Wee Wern through to second round Wed, 14 May 2014 17:37:33 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Women’s squash world number one Datuk Nicol David and Low Wee Wern breezed into the second round of the 2014 British Open held at the Sports Arena in the University of Hull, England.

In a first round match played early yesterday, Nicol who is gunning for her fifth British Open title, easily disposed of Egyptian qualifier, Heba El Torky 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 in 36 minutes, according to the tournament website

“Got through my first round against Heba El Torky, 3-0 and climbing my way out of the university to get to the glass court. Should be fun!,” said Nicol in her Facebook posting.

She won the British Open in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2012.

Seventh seed Wee Wern, however, received stiff resistance from another Malaysian player, Delia Arnold before emerging with a 11-6, 7-11, 11-1, 11-13, 11-7 win in 64 minutes.

“It’s always tough playing a friend and teammate, especially in the first round of a major event. Glad to come through 3-2 against Delia Arnold today. On to the last 16 of the British Open tomorrow,” said Wee Wern in her Twitter account.

Nicol and Wee Wern will meet Sara-Jane Perry and Emma Beddoes respectively from the host country, in the second round.

Sara-Jane, the 16th seed, defeated Danish player Line Hansen 11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8 while Emma cruised to the last 16 after pulling off a major upset against 13th seed Nour El Sherbini of Egypt, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6 and 11-9.

Meanwhile, Ong Beng Hee, the sole Malaysian in the men’s category, was knocked out from the tournament after losing to eighth seed Karim Darwish of Egypt in the opening round. — Bernama

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Ma siblings shine in CIMB squash tourney Wed, 09 Apr 2014 17:02:36 +0000

Girls U-15 silver medallist Ma Si Yi

Boys U-17 champion Ma Teck Leck.

MIRI: Sarawak bagged one gold, one silver and one bronze in the recent CIMB National Junior Squash Championship held in Ipoh, Perak from April 3 – 6.

Two of the medalists were from Miri.

Ma Teck Leck defeated the tournament top seed to emerge champion in the Boy’s Under-17 category.

His younger sister, 13-year-old Ma Si Yi, took the silver after losing only in the final.

The bronze medal came from Sibu’s Josephine Yii in the Girl’s Under-15.

The 3-leg CIMB circuit is open to local and international players.

Miri Squash Association (MSA) vice-president Yeo Yaw Lee, when contacted yesterday, was proud of the players.

“Apart from the three top athletes who managed to bring home medals for our state, we also have a handful of players who managed to qualify to the top 16 and quarter-finals during the championship in Ipoh,” he said.

Yaw added that the association was thankful to the two Pakistani coaches who train the players in Miri.

MSA built the training centre here at Pei Min Middle School which has eight courts.

It is the second biggest training centre in Malaysia after the one in Bukit Jalil,” Yaw remarked.

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50 primary school pupils to attend squash talent search programme Thu, 27 Mar 2014 17:38:32 +0000

SIBU: About 50 primary school pupils here are expected to attend the talent identification search for the Squash Junior Development Programme (JDP) at SMK Sacred Heart on March 29 from 8am to noon.

Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) president Robert Lau Hui Yew said they would be shortlisted for the JDP which prepared players for the coming state squash circuit.

Lau said the selection exercise to be held simultaneously in Kuching and Miri would be conducted by local coaches.

He said the key selection criterion was the motor skills of the players while the mentality of the participants would also be taken into consideration.

“If the participants are deemed capable and have full potential to become good players, we will then rope them into the JDP after getting the consent from their parents.”

He said the training schedule would be fixed at four times per week, or as deemed fit by the coach.

After the training, outstanding players will be selected to take part in the CMS state circuit.

The first leg of the CMS circuit is in Miri (June 20-22), the second leg in Sibu (Aug 30-31) and the third leg in Miri (Sept 12 to 14).

Lau said this was not the first time they were doing the talent identification and recruitment program.

“We did that in the past but due to lack of coordination among the respective divisions, the training program usually ended up not getting anywhere.”

He said SRAS was more informed and equipped with better knowledge and guidelines on how to organise a better one this time.

“The CMS circuit is the cornerstone for players to excel and showcase their talents, and from where their squash career blossoms,” he pointed out.

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Top seed Nicol David survives five-game thriller Fri, 21 Mar 2014 17:12:04 +0000

Top seed Nicol David survived a five-game test against determined Frenchwoman Camille Serme before booking her place in the world women?s championships semi-finals on Friday.

The Malaysian seven-time world champion had won all 12 of her previous meetings with Serme but she had to raise her game before triumphing 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 6-11, 11-4 in her home island of Penang.

Serme produced some sizzling attacking play to take the first game 11-9, before David hit back with an aggressive approach and reeled off the second and third games 11-5.

But Serme stormed back with renewed energy in the fourth game, forcing David into numerous unforced errors as she levelled the match at two games each.

However, any chance of an upset quickly went out of the window as David dominated the deciding fifth game with some sublime winners to seal the 11-4 win.

“My matches against Camille were always a close affair, it really always could go either way,” said 30-year-old David, the long-time world number one.

“She just came firing in all cylinders, especially in the first and fourth, but I stuck to my game plan and am pleased to come away with the 3-2 win.”

David also shrugged off any concerns about fatigue ahead of her semi-final on Saturday against Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini.

“These sort of matches actually gets me going, so I will get adequate rest and be fresh for tomorrow,” David said.

Sherbini, who beat English fourth seed in the second round, continued her giant-killing act by dismissing fifth seed Joelle King of New Zealand, 11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 11-6.

Second-seeded Englishwoman Laura Massaro, David’s closest rival, also booked a semi-final spot when she fought back from the brink of defeat to oust Malaysian sixth seed Low Wee Wern 12-14, 11-6, 6-11, 13-11, 11-7.

Massaro will next play Egyptian third seed Raneem El Weleily, who beat Ireland’s Madeline Perry 10-12, 14-12, 11-3, 7-11, 11-7. -AFP

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Quickfire David starts title bid in style Tue, 18 Mar 2014 16:45:28 +0000

Malaysia’s Nicol David began her bid for unprecedented eighth women?s world championship title in sizzling fashion Tuesday, dispatching England?s Emma Beddoes in straight games 11-9, 11-5, 11-8.

Backed by a vociferous 1,000-strong crowd in her home island of Penang, David took a short while to get into the match as Beddoes went to a 3-0 lead and then matched the world number one 9-9 in the first game.

But David, 31, used her experience and court craft to prevail 11-9, and it was all downhill for the Englishwoman after that as the seven-time winner’s game sharpened significantly.

David swept the second game 11-5 and after some late resistance, the Malaysian took the third game 11-8 to wrap up a straightforward win in just 36 minutes.

David will next face Egyptian qualifier Heba El Torky, who produced the upset of the day with a 13-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8 win over world number eight Annie Au of Hong Kong.

Another surprise came from Guyana?s Nicolette Fernandes, who slayed 2007 world champion and former world number one Rachael Grinham of Australia 4-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-7.

The bottom half of the championship table starts on Wednesday, with second seed Laura Massaro of England playing Malaysian wildcard Vanessa Raj.

Third seed Raneem El Weleily meanwhile takes on fellow Egyptian Salma Hany. -AFP

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Nicol David looks to lift Malaysian spirits at women’s squash worlds Tue, 18 Mar 2014 00:57:40 +0000

Nicol David of Malaysia, pictured during the Australian Open squash tournament, in Canberra, on August 10, 2011Nicol David of Malaysia, pictured during the Australian Open squash tournament, in Canberra, on August 10, 2011 -AFP photo

Malaysia’s world number one Nicol David warned competition was now tougher than ever as she sets out to defend her title at the world women’s championships on her home island of Penang.

The peerless David, who has won a record seven world titles and has held the top ranking since 2006, is the hot favourite to lift the trophy for the eighth time.

The 30-year-old can help boost Malaysian spirits after the disappearance of flight Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 with 239 passengers on board nine days ago caused widespread shock.

David has made a turbo-charged start to the year, winning back-to-back titles at the Tournament of Champions and Cleveland Classic in January and February.

But despite being the overwhelming favourite in Penang, she said it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep her challengers at bay.

“There is not much separating the top 10 players and the gap is certainly getting closer,” David said.

“Anyone in the top 10 is capable of ousting each other, so I have to be on top of my game as everyone will be out to get me.”

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Asian Games in South Korea and the world team championships are also on David’s 2014 schedule in what is shaping up as a busy year.

“I am 30 now and the sport is very demanding,” she said. “I have to pay extra attention to my preparation and recovery for each match and I can?t push my body too much compared to when I was younger.

“Having said that, I still aim to compete at the highest level for at the least the next five years.”

The top seed and defending champion will open her account against England’s Emma Beddoes in a draw which appears to have given her a favourable route to the final.

Should she make the title match on Saturday, her biggest rival Laura Massaro of England, the second seed, will hope to lie in wait.

Massaro’s main obstacle in the bottom half of the draw looks to be third seed Raneem El Weleily of Egypt. David?s last world title win came at the expense of Massaro back in 2012.

The pocket-sized champion will be joined by compatriots Low Wee Wern and wildcard entry Vanessa Raj in the main draw. -AFP

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Squash talent search goes state-wide Sat, 08 Mar 2014 16:55:54 +0000

Robert Lau Hui Yew

SIBU: Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) has embarked on a state-wide talent search for squash players to join the junior development programme (JDP) scheduled to be held on March 29.

Its president Robert Lau Hui Yew said the JDP would be conducted by its three affiliates in Kuching (MBKS Court at Pending Road), Sibu (SMK Sacred Heart) and Miri (SMK Pei Ming or Sk Bintang) simultaneously on the same day.

“We have reasons to believe that there are lots of potential players out there whose talent are yet to be tapped. Roping them in to join the squash junior development programme will give us a bigger pool of players who would eventually be moulded into players of national or even international calibre,” he added when contacted.

The talent identification effort for the JDP, he continued, had received encouraging response and queries from many parents.

The key thing, Lau insisted, is the cooperation from the parents as they are the pillars of strength and support for their children.

‘Parents must be committed to send your children to the training centre. If parents do not have the time to do that simple task, then it is impossible for their little child to progress.”

He invited parents to bring their children 10-years-old and below to join the training programme.

The maximum entry fee is RM50 per month.

SRAS officials would also go to the schools to identify talented players.

Lau, who took part in the JDP workshop held in Kuala Lumpur recently, said the training schedule would be fixed at four times a week or as deem fit by the coaches in the respective divisions.

In Kuching, there are four full-time and three part-time coaches to render assistance to the players.

“In Sibu, we have three full-time coaches and in Miri, we also have three full-time coaches and one part-time coach. With so many professional coaches, we are confident that the standard of the squash players in the state will increase by leaps and bounds.”

After the training, outstanding players will be selected to take part in the CMS state circuit.

The first leg of the CMS circuit will be held in Kuching from June 20-22, the second in Sibu from Aug 30-31 and the third in Miri from Sept 12-14.

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Favourable draw for Nicol in World Championship Wed, 26 Feb 2014 17:23:55 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen and world number Datuk Nicol David received a favourable draw in the 29th CIMB Women’s World Championship scheduled from March 15 to 23, at the Subterranean Penang International Conference and Exhibition Centre (SPICE) in Bayan Baru, Penang.

In yesterday’s draw which was attended by Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) general manager, Christopher Brodie, the seven-time world champion will face unseeded player, Emma Beddoes of England in the opening round.

Nicol is expected to take on either joint 9/16 seed, Annie Au of Hong Kong or a qualifier if she goes through to the second round.

The 30-year Penangite won the world title in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

World number six, Low Wee Wern is also expected to have an easy passage in the first round as she has been drawn against unseeded Australian, Donna Urquhart and expected to face Line Hansen of Denmark or a qualifier in the next round.

National amateur player, Vanessa Raj who gained entry through a wild-card ticket however, will have an uphill task after being drawn against world number two, Laura Massaro of England in the opening round.

The winner of the match will meet either joint 9/16 seed, Jenny Duncalf of England or a qualifier in the second round.

Vanessa Raj when met by reporters after the draw said, she does not want to think too much about her opponent but instead would try to give her best performance to increase her world ranking which is currently at 102nd position.

“My aim is to get exposure in the tournament and I don’t want to think much about Laura because this is our first meeting. I hope to improve my world ranking through this tournament and boost my chances of playing in more high level tournaments,” said the 18 year-old petite girl from the St George’s Girls’ School who had just completed her SPM examination.

The tournament is being held this year following the cancellation of the 2013 edition when both Hong Kong and Egypt had rejected the proposals to organised it. — Bernama

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30 juniors return from KL squash meet Wed, 19 Feb 2014 17:18:20 +0000

All the medal winners posing with team officials.

SIBU: Thirty state squash players are back home after the recent National Junior Championship in Kuala Lumpur.

Rising star Tommy Lau was the toast of the team when he took the third position in Boy’s Under-11 category.

Marcus Sim for Boy’s U-17 and Ma Si Yii of Girl’s U-17 both returned with a fourth placing.

Caleb Lau Hui Xuan and
Charlize Goh were fifth in the Boy’s U-11 and Girl’s U-13 respectively.

Jean Wong, Danielle Wee, Nathan Kueh, Martin Kueh, Ma Teck Leck and Natalie Sim also obtained top 10 positions in their respective categories.

Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) president Lau Hui Yew picked Timothy Ling as most promising.

“Timothy managed to chalk up the 6th placing in the Boy’s Under-15 but his performance at the championship was worthy of a true fighter who is about to make things differently,” Lau said.

The 14-year-old, he continued, had shown great improvement for the past months.

“He has a bright future and so long as his passion for the sport remains intact, he should be able
to excel and gain greater heights.”

The presence of national elite players like Ng Eain Yew, Muhamed Fariz Izwan, Muhamad Hafiz, Vasudef Vasanthan, Aifa Azman and Sivasangari had made the championship competitive, Lau observed.

He expected the state players to perform as good if not better at the CIMB Rising Star Circuit on March 5-7 in Kuala Lumpur.

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30 Sarawak squash players vie for national junior tourney Tue, 11 Feb 2014 17:46:23 +0000

Lau (second left) chairing the Committee for Talent Identification Programme held in Kuala Lumpur recently. From left are Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) president Dato Said Mustapha, deputy president Huang Ying How and general manager cum honorary secretary Christopher Brodie.

SIBU: Sarawak will send about 30 players to the National Junior Squash Championship in Kuala Lumpur from Feb 13 – 16.

They include state boy’s Under-15 champion Timothy Ling, U-17 champion Ma Teck Leck, girl’s U-15 champion Ma Si Yii and boy’s U-11 Tommy Lau, Caleb Lau and Prasad Ruhern.

Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) president Robert Lau said the championship would be a platform for the players to get their own national rankings.

“This is an important tournament and players who are already ranked can also use the opportunity to improve their own rankings,” he added.

Lau noted there are other tournaments in the pipeline including the CIMB Rising Star which will start early next month.

Lau, who took over the presidency of SRAS six years ago, said they have been working hard to produce players of national quality.

“Reflecting on our past, we are proud that we have good and quality players now who are able to put Sarawak on the squash map. Sarawak is now fast on the road to become a squash powerhouse,” he said.

Of the five age group – Boy’s and Girl’s U-9, U-11, U-13, U-15 and U-17, Lau said Sarawak tended to do well in the U-9 and U-11 categories.

“We do produce national champion in these two categories in the past. However, as they were promoted to the senior categories, they tend to fade away. Our focus now is to produce champions in the U-17 and U-19 categories,” he revealed.

“We are now looking into our training programme, both the physical and psychological phase of training, the level of coaching and the need to improve the mental strength of the players.”

Lau also hoped they could find players whose parents do not put too much pressure on their academic results.

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Nicol bags Cleveland Classic Open for second title of the year Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:11:00 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen and world number one Datuk Nicol David continued her all conquering impressive run after clinching the 2014 Cleveland Classic Open held at the Cleveland Racquet Club, Ohio, United States.

The 30-year old Penangite who recently claimed the Tournament of Champions (ToC) title in New York, brushed aside surprise finalist, Annie Au of Hong Kong 13-11, 11-5, 11-6.

On her victory, Nicol who is also the seven-time world champion said she was satisfied to bag her second title, this season.

“It’s a great feeling that you can’t describe it to people.

The hard work in training pays off on the court,” she said as quoted in the tournament website

For the record, Nicol had won the sametournament back in 2012 besides emerging runner-up in 2011 and 2013.

The victory also marked Nicol’s 73 title in 92 appearances in the final and took her unbeaten run to 35 matches and underlined her eighth consecutive tournament win. — Bernama

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Nicol a step closer to second title of year Tue, 04 Feb 2014 16:53:14 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen Datuk Nicol David is just a step closer to clinching her second title this year after marching into the final of the Cleveland Classic.

The world number one won her first title at the Tournament of Champions (TOC) in New York last month.

In the semi-final match held at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Pepper Pike, Ohio, the 30-year old Penangite fended off the challenge of a qualifier Nour El Tayeb, who defeated world number three Raneem El Weleily in the quarter-finals.

Nicol beat the Egyptian in straight set 11-7, 12-10, 11-4.

But before the victory, Nicol faced a nerve wrecking moment in the second set where she was trailing 2-8 before recovering to win the set 12-10.

Meanwhile, Nicol is expected to have a tough battle against Asian champion Annie Au of Hong Kong in the final.

Annie, a qualifier, defeated fourth seed Alison Waters of England 6-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-2, 12-10.

Earlier, she defeated England top duo, world number two Laura Massaro and world number nine Jenny Duncalf, in the first round and quarter-finals respectively.

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Nicol storms into Cleveland Classic Open semis Mon, 03 Feb 2014 17:59:38 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen and world number one Datuk Nicol David stayed on course for her second consecutive title this season, after marching into the semifinals of the 2014 Cleveland Classic Open at the Cleveland Racquet Club, Ohio, Unites States.

In the quarter-finals played early today, the 30-year Penangite recorded an easy 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 win over fifth seed Camille Serme of France to book her berth.

Nicol, the seven-time world champion regarded the French women as a tough opponent as they have meet several times before.

“The rallies were long, she made me work hard but I was able to set up the opening and I was able to put the ball away,” Nicol said.

Nicol who recently claimed the Tournament of Champions (ToC) title in New York will face a tricky semi-final match later today against the 2009 World Junior runner-up, Nour El Tayeb of Egypt.

The 20-year old Egyptian cruised into the semi-finals after pulling off a major upset by defeating her more illustrious compatriot Raneem El Weleily who was seeded third, 8-11, 11-9, 11-4, 12-10. — Bernama

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Nicol claims maiden title this year Sat, 25 Jan 2014 17:12:24 +0000

Datuk Nicole David

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen and world No 1, Datuk Nicol David got off to a better start in the new year, after clinching the 2014 Tournament of Champions title in the United States.

In the final match held at the Grand Central Terminal, New York yesterday, the 30-year-old Penangite put up a splendid performance to upstage her opponent, Laura Massaro of England.

She beat the world number two and second seed player in 11-4, 13-11 and 11-8 in 45 minutes.

On the victory, Nicol, who is also seven times world champion, said she was happy to win the tournament despite having to struggle in the first set against the Englishwoman.

“The ball got faster as we were playing and I was able to play some good and low attacking shots…I just kept telling myself to ‘keep going, keep going and keep going’ (in the second set),” she was quoted as saying in the tournament website’s

Meanwhile, in the men’s category, seventh seed Amr Shabana of Egypt pulled off an upset by defeating top seed and world number two, Gregory Gaultier of France, 11-8, 11-3 and 11-4 in 42 minutes. — Bernama

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Nicol edges closer to clinching maiden title this year Fri, 24 Jan 2014 17:25:00 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen and world number one player, Datuk Nicol Ann David is just a step closer to clinching her maiden title this year after marching into the final of the 2014 Tournament of Champions (ToC) in New York.In the semi-final match held at the Grand Central Terminal early yesterday, the 30-year old Penangite did not have much trouble defeating fourth seed, Alison Waters of England.

She beat the Englishwoman in 11-8, 11-8 and 12-10 in 46 minutes.

Nicol, who had earlier beaten compatriot Low Wee Wern in the quarter-finals on Thursday, will take on Alison’s compatriot, Laura Massaro in the final.

Laura, the world number two and second seed cruised to the final after earning a hard fought 11-5, 3-11, 11-6 and 11-9 win against fifth seed, Camille Serme of France in the other semi-final encounter which lasted 62 minutes.

On the victory, Nicol who is also seven times world champion, said the match was keenly contested as both of them keep catching up to each other.

“I had to put pressure on with good depth. I really found the front corners of the court today as well.

“After two rounds of play on the glass court, I always see the ball better,” Nicol was quoted as saying in the tournament website’s — Bernama

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Satisfactory outing by S’wak squash players in S’pore Wed, 22 Jan 2014 17:05:16 +0000

(From left) Lau, Carina, Kasen, Marcus, Jess, Charlize, Midy and Connie Yeo, a SRAS committee member.

SIBU: Sarawak squash players returned from the recent Singapore Squash Age-group Championship with six players securing top six positions in their respective categories.

Sukma player Jess Tay (Boy’s Under-19) anchored the leading pack which included Mindy Lee and Charlize Goh (Girl’s U-15), Kasen Lau (Boy’s U-15), Marcus Sim (Boy’s U-17) and Carina Loi (Girl’s U-13). A total of 20 players from Sarawak took part in the championship.

Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) president Robert Lau Hui Yew was pleased with the performance of the contingent.

“Generally, it was a fine outing, taking into account that none of our top players made the trip to Singapore as they had other commitments,” he said.

Of the six players who made it to the top six, Lau picked out Jess among the stable of elite players produced by SRAS in recent years.

“He shows determination and mental strength to go further at the Singapore championship. He has a bright side and , given more exposure, he should be able to hit stardom soonest,” he added.

Lau also expressed confidence in Mindy, saying she had all the talent to progress further.

Both Jess and Mindy have been shortlisted for this year’s Sukma to be held in Perlis in June.

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Mindy sparks optimism for local squash challenge Mon, 16 Dec 2013 17:20:44 +0000

RAVE REVIEWS: Mindy poses at the Sarawak Club yesterday.

KUCHNG: A 16 year-old girl has raised some hope for Sarawak’s bid for a gold medal in squash in next year’s Sukma in Perlis.

Unseeded Mindy Lee, fresh from competing at the Redtone KL Junior Open, went all the way to the final of the Under-15 category only to lose to top seeded Nazihah Hanis Abdul Razak of Kedah.

The five-day Redtone tournament, organised by the Squash Racquet Association of The Federal Territory (SRAF), is a event sanctioned by the Asian Squash Federation (ASF).

Mindy’s remarkable run has made local squash officials excited about how the youngster can help Sarawak mount a serious challenge in Sukma 2014.

She was at the Sarawak Club with Squash Asoociation of Kuching (SAK) president Connie Yeo to meet up with reporters yesterday.

“On behalf of SAK, I am proud that our local Kuching player did well against the other junior players of her age from all over the country in the tournament which was classified as a Gold event,” Connie announced.

She revealed that Mindy created upsets such as beating renowned Malaysian players like Sara Chew and fellow Sarawakian Jean Wong en route to the final.

“She (Mindy) will be competing in her third Sukma next year although she is only 16 years-old. She is getting better every year and hopefully she can help contribute to the medal tally when we compete in Perlis,” Yeo added.

In the squash competition at the 2012 Sukma, the state men’s team captured the gold in the team event but the women’s team came home empty-handed.

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Sarawak girls are runner-up in national challenge Tue, 29 Oct 2013 23:34:54 +0000

THE FINALISTS: Players from Sarawak and Kedah pose before the final showdown. Sarawak players are Zoe Ting (left), Charlize Goh (third left), Corina Loi (fifth left) and Chloe Chieng (second right).

SIBU: Sarawak’s young squash stars returned home with a strong performance at the 15th Malaysia Under-12 Ong Beng Hee-Nicol David Squash Challenge Cup held in Kelantan recently.

The team comprising Zoe Ting, Charlize Goh, Corina Loi and Chloe Chieng secured the second spot after losing 0-2 to Kedah in the final.

The play-off for third placing saw Negri Sembilan winning 2-0 against the Federal Territories.

Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) president Robert Lau Hui Yew was all praise for the team.

“The girls did very well to make it to the final and we should all be proud of them,” he said when contacted.

In the final encounter with Kedah, Charlize lost to Aifa Azman 5-11, 3-11, 1-11 before Chloe faced a similar fate beaten by Nurul Aizzah 2-11, 5-11, 3-11.

Lau admitted it was an uphill task for the Sarawak girls against the highly fancied Kedah players.

“Our girls still gave their spirited display of courage and wits before they were overcome by the more powerful and fitter Kedah players,” he said.

The tournament was aimed at promoting squash among primary school students and providing a platform for inter-state competition.

Sarawak also took second position in the same competition last year.

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Nicol, Wee Wern through to China Open quarter-finals Fri, 25 Oct 2013 03:10:21 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen and world number one Datuk Nicol David got off to a perfect start in the 2013 China Open after cruising into the quarter-finals of the tournament.

In the first round, Nicol defeated Li Donglin from the host country 11-6, 11-4, 11-2, according to the tournament website

The 30-year old Penangite will meet Indian qualifier Dipika Pallikal in the quarter-final on Friday after the unseeded player pulled off a major upset by defeating seventh seed, Madeline Perry of Ireland 11-8, 11-7, 11-4.

National women’s number two and defending champion Low Wee Wern however, was stretched to a five-setter before emerging victorious against Australian qualifier Rachel Grinham 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5.

Wee Wern will have a tricky second round match as she is scheduled to face second seed and world number three Raneem El Weleily of Egypt as the 24-year-old Egyptian marched into the next round by defeating Australian qualifier, Donna Urquhart 8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9.

All the winners in the first round will go straight to the quarter-finals. – BERNAMA

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Nicol reaches US Open squash semi-final Wed, 16 Oct 2013 23:49:30 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Seven-time world squash champion Datuk Nicol David booked a berth in the semifinals of the United States Open 2013 on Tuesday.

In the first half of the quarter-final matches held at the glass court mounted at the Drexel Kline and Specter Squash Center in Philadelphia, the 30-year-old world number one took 34 minutes to outclass Ireland’s Madeline Perry in straight sets of 12-10, 11-2 and 11-3.

“I knew I had to be on from the start. Madeline is so strong from the middle, and she had me on the run a lot of times so I had to work hard to stay in front,” the competition official website,, quoted Nicol as saying.

Nicol will meet New Zealand’s Joelle King, who defeated fourth seed Alison Waters of England. Joelle won the match in straight sets of 11-6, 11-6 and 11-4 in 34 minutes. — Bernama

Meanwhile, the second half of the women’s category quarter-final, involving matches between Malaysia’s number two, Low Wee Wern, and Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily, as well as Kasey Brown (Australia) and Laura Massaro (England), will be held at 5 pm (5 am in Malaysia).  — Bernama

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Nicol regains Carol Weymuller Open Title Mon, 07 Oct 2013 08:28:45 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen and world number one Datuk Nicol Ann David claimed her second 2013 season win after regaining her Carol Weymuller Open title on Sunday.

In the finals held at the Heights Casino in Brooklyn, New York, the 30-year-old Penangite easily dispatched France’s Camille Serme 12-10, 11-2 and 11-5.It was Nicol’s second win in the competition after she last won it in 2005.

Nicol crashed out of the Carol Weymuller Open in 2012 after losing to England’s Alison Waters in the quarter-finals.

“I’m just so happy to win this tournament after so long. It has been such a great atmosphere that it just drives me forward to play better squash each day.

“Camille played really well in the first game and it was neck and neck all the way. In the second and third I mixed it up a bit more because she gets into a great rhythm and it could be dangerous,” Nicol was quoted as saying in a squash website, – BERNAMA

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Kuching and Bau for Miri CMS squash circuit Thu, 12 Sep 2013 19:01:33 +0000

KUCHING: Kuching and Bau will send 26 of its top juniors for the third leg of CMS S1 Circuit at Pei Min Miri Squash Academy courts in Miri from Sept 14 to 16.

Team manager cum coach Joe Ting said although the majority of the players are still new, they have improved a lot since coming under his tutelage in May this year.

The team players are between six years to 11 with seven players are from Bau, 10 from SK St Joseph, three from SK St Teresa, two each from St Joseph’s Private School and Tadika St Jude, and one each from SK St Mary and SK Ong Tiang Swee.

They are under Squash Association of Kuching’s junior development programme and are expected to compete in future age group competitions.

“The kids are a very spirited and determined lot and they love and enjoy playing squash,” Ting told the Borneo Post during a training session at Sarawak Golf Club squash courts yesterday.

He expressed hope for at least one of the players to finish in the top three of the Boys’ Under 9 and the girls to make it to the final of Girls’ Under 9 category.

“I am not placing too much hopes on the U11 players because they have only started to play squash and needs to be developed further,” said Ting.

At the Sibu leg, Anabelle Nathalia Marvin was the runner-up in the Girls’ Under 9 while Ashley Rogees finished fifth in the same category.

As for the Boys’ Under 9, Eugene Dady was fourth while in sixth to 12 positions were Charoon Virakun, Adam Muzzaffar Abdillah, Kulleh Tajang, Bryan Balan Jim, Xavier Rogees, Javioer Rogees and Lejo Tajang respectively.

Freda Rosa Francis was third in the Girls’ Under 11, Marion Jarel seventh, Marrissa Nathalie Marvin ninth and in the Boys U11, Emmanuel Irvine Day was ninth while Amelia Solo finished eighth in the Girls’ Under 13.

“The kids have been training very hard in preparation for the Miri competition every day except for Saturday, from 2pm to 5pm and it is very inspiring to see their passion, enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to training,” said Ting who owed it to the parents who were supportive of their children.

“We are hoping that some of the big companies can come forward as corporate sponsors to assist these kids in whatever form possible. Sending them to competitions outside Kuching or the state is costly,” he said, adding that he is also planning to send a team to compete in Kuala Lumpur in November.

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Squash stronger despite failed bid, says Nicol Mon, 09 Sep 2013 22:34:39 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysian world number one Datuk Nicol David said yesterday she was disappointed squash failed to make it into the 2020 Olympics but that the sport’s run for the Games had raised its profile.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Sunday restored wrestling as an Olympic sport, leaving other short-listers squash and baseball/softball on the sidelines for the 2020 Games, which will be hosted by Tokyo.

“I think this is the closest that the sport has ever been to the Olympics,” David, 30, told AFP.

“We just hope that we deserve better in the end.”

“But no doubt this is a really good position we are in to really spearhead forward our tours, with the men’s and the women’s tour, and also squash in general,” she said in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia’s most dominant athlete, David has ruled women’s squash.

She has held the top rank for seven straight years, won a record seven world titles, and would be a solid bet to bring home her country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal.

She has been a passionate campaigner for Olympic squash but the 2020 failure likely dashes her medal hopes.

Even if squash makes it into the 2024 Olympics, David would be in her 40s by then.

It “would be pretty tough because squash is very brutal on the body and, to be competitive then, it’s difficult.”

David said she would happily support any future drives for Olympic squash.

“For squash, we have a strong case and I don’t think we will back down that easily. We will really stick to our guns,” she said.

Squash has repeatedly attempted to gain Olympic entry over the past decade. It topped a vote of Games aspirants in 2005 but failed to get a required two-thirds of the ballots.

“Today’s decision is heartbreaking for the millions of squash players around the world, particularly given the 10-year journey we have been on to join the Olympic Games Sports Programme,” said squash federation president Narayana Ramachandran.

He had earlier said that squash would try again for inclusion in future Games. — AFP

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Top seeds enter national championship finals Sat, 31 Aug 2013 18:05:50 +0000

CONTROL: Nicol plays a return to Delia Arnold during their semi-final match at the National Squash Centre.Nicol will meet Low Wee Wern in the final today. — Bernama photo

World number one Nicol meets Malaysia number two Wee Wern in final

KUALA LUMPUR: The tournament’s top seeds led by world number one, Datuk Nicol David continued their march in the 4th Malaysian National Squash Championship at the National Squash Centre here last night.

Nicol, the top seed in the women’s premier category, defeated Malaysia’s number three Delia Arnold in straight sets of 11-5, 11-8 and 12-10.

“It was competitive all the way (playing against Delia). I knew that I had to work each point at a time and not let her to take over. I just kept my focus and tried not to make any mistakes…but she’s also got some amazing shots,” said Nicol after her match.

She will be meeting second seed, Low Wee Wern in today’s finals.

“It is good to get in the court with her. However, it will be a different scenario. I think both of us want the national title.

“The quality of the match is going to be higher than what we had before,” said Nicol, adding that their last meeting this year was at the quarter-finals of the Cleveland Open last February where she won the match 3-0.

Wee Wern booked her berth in the final of the womens premier category after defeating Zulhijjah Azan also in straight setc, 11-4, 11-2 and 11-2.

“I will try to match her (Nicol). Basically she’s the best player in the world and everybody in the world want to beat her.

“I hope I can hang in there and be as long as I can with her. I know the match will turn out to be a good match,” said Wee Wern.

In the men’s premier category, Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan was on the right track in his quest for his first national title, defeating former national Timothy Arnold with identical scores of 11-7, 11-7 and 11-7.

He will be playing against the tournament’s top seed Ong Beng Hee in the final.

“I’m hungry for the national title but he is more experienced than me. I really want to win, last year I think my mind was not ready to play him,” said Mohd Nafiizwan.

As for the men’s top seed, Beng Hee outclassed national junior, Mohd Addeen Idrakie with 11-5, 11-3 and 11-5.

“Obviously, its going to be tough. He really wants to win his first national title and as for me, I just want to defend the title,” quipped 33-year-old Beng Hee. — Bernama

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Nathan triumphs at Japan Junior Squash Open Wed, 28 Aug 2013 23:12:20 +0000

SIBU: Young squash prodigy Nathan Kueh emerged champion in the Japan Junior Squash Open Boys’ Under-13 category held at Yokohama Squash stadium in Japan recently.

The 11-year-old pupil of SJK Chung Hua, Miri was in his element as he managed to keep his composure throughout the three-day championship.

Nathan’s biggest match of the tournament was in the semi-finals when he took on compatriot Vasudef Vasanthan from Negeri Sembilan who was two years older and much taller.

Moreover, Vasudef was also the tournament top seed and that tag put the more pressure on Nathan to deliver.

Nathan, however, refused to be intimidated and he showed who was the boss when he threw the formbook upside down before beating Vasudef 3-1 (11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4) to qualify for the final.

“I rarely beat him during the CIMB squash circuits in Malaysia and beating him at the Japan Open was certainly a memory to treasure.

“I will savour my victory and hopefully, it will motivate me to work harder.”

Nathan was highly charged after his semi-final victory and wrapped up the final game in three straight sets.

His victory in Japan cemented his reputation as a top national player in the Boys’ Under-13 category and a star to watch in future tournaments.

Over 50 players from like Malaysia, Hong Kong, Great Britain and the US took part in the event.

For Nathan, his victory at Japan Open will only inspire him to work harder as he surged ahead for more competitive squash challenges.

His mother, Pauline, who accompanied Nathan for the Japan trip, said she did not put much pressure on Nathan to deliver.

“I allow him to play his own game so that his love and passion for the sport will keep burning brightly,” she said.

Last May, Nathan competed in the Boys’ Under-11 Milo All-Star Squash Junior Championship in Kuala Lumpur and finished fourth even though he was up against some of the top players from Asia.

Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) president Robert Lau Hui Yew, when contacted, described Nathan as a young competitive player who was very determined to stamp his mark in the squash fraternity.

“He has shown remarkable improvement in his training and is one of the CIMB junior development players who has shown consistent results since exploding into the scene in the Under-9 category,” he said.

Nathan will compete in the 3rd and final leg of CMS Sarawak Circuit, slated to be held in Miri from Sept 14 to 16 and the CMS sponsored event is jointly organised by SRAS with its affiliates in Kuching, Sibu and Miri.

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Top players and coaches attend elite squash camp Sat, 03 Aug 2013 18:39:13 +0000

FACES FOR THE FUTURE: Allan (seated second left), Lau (third left) and the coaches pose with the elite players.

SIBU: The Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) is working hard with the squash coaches and players in the country to prepare for big upcoming international tournaments.

National Director of Coaching Allan Souza singled out these tournaments as the 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2018 Asian Games or even the 2020 Olympics if squash gets the nod to be included as an Olympic sport.

“We really need to get prepared. Most of the current batch of top players like Ong Beng Hee and Delia Arnold are in their twilight years and we need to get new players to take over the mantle once the seniors retire,” he said at the opening of the inaugural three-day elite squash camp held at SMK Sacred Heart School Squash Court recently.

Among those attending the function was SRAM vice president Robert Lau Hui Yew.

All the top 18 squash players from the state, together with 15 coaches, including five part-time coaches, attended the camp.

Five of the full-time coaches were from Pakistan, a country renowned for producing outstanding squash players.

Allan described the camp as a pivotal event that would not only help the state to produce a rich crop of players but also help push the state junior development programme into the next level.

He said it would also help strengthened the national body’s bid to sustain Malaysia as a international force in squash.

“The higher the level of the junior players, the better it is for the national team,” he added.

Allan, however, noted a peculiar trend of young local players as they mature into seniors.

“Basically, we are strong from the Under 9 to the Under 15 category but once the player reached that point, their standard seems to come to a halt. We need to translate their success into the Under 17 and Under 19.”

Allan said SRAM was always appreciative of the Sarawak and Sabah affiliates as they had to spend an extra amount of money to fly to the Peninsula to take part in squash championships and other events.

“So I am making it a point to come here more often to return your goodwill and hopefully to get more input into the game.”

Earlier Lau, who is also President of Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS), said the state was targeting for 200 junior players under its development programme.

“We are confident of hitting that mark and that is why we are getting more coaches to help guide and push them to the champion or world level.

“It’s a very meaningful camp and, hopefully, we would be able to achieve our objective of strategising our game plan and the programme that will fully benefit the sport.”

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Squash chief pleased with number of local players at CIMB Circuit Tue, 30 Jul 2013 16:00:55 +0000

STARS TO WATCH: Top performers in the Girl’s U-15 category. At left is Sibu Squash Association President Dr Lau Ngie Chuong, Dr Annuar and Robert (right).

SIBU: President of Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) Robert Lau Hui Yew is happy with the large number of local players at the 2nd leg of the CIMB Sarawak Squash Circuit held here last weekend.

“We do not need to get too many outstation players to come and play in the Sarawak Circuit.

“We ought to develop the local talent first before we invite outside players to come so that the local players will also have the opportunity to prove their worth,” he said at the closing of the competition.

The second leg attracted just over 100 players.

According to Lau, more than 50 per cent of the 2nd leg participants were new players.

Lau told the players that they were fortunate with all the facilities and the professional coaches to guide them.

“Currently, we have 10 full-time coaches in Sarawak. We plan to hire two more coaches. The opportunities are there, so work hard and improve your standard and skills,” he said.

On the CIMB Foundation drive to collect the second-hand books for charity, Lau said SRAS had thus far collected 366 books.

“CIMB Foundation had set an initial target of 500 books for us. We are still short of 144 books. So when the players meet up in the Miri leg, hopefully, each of you will bring one book to meet our target.”

Lau said Sarawak was leading in the collection of the second-hand books.

Selangor has managed to collect 300 books thus far.

He said the purpose of collecting the books was to encourage reading and to enable children to understand charity.

Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapaee, who officiated at the closing of the competition, announced a grant of RM5,000 to Sibu Squash Association.

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Over 100 players for State Squash Circuit II Fri, 19 Jul 2013 16:44:55 +0000

PLAYER TO WATCH: Chris is expected to stamp his superiority at the CMS Sarawak Squash Circuit 2nd leg in Sibu from July 26 to 28.

SIBU: Over 100 players are expected at the CMS Sarawak Squash Circuit 2nd leg at Lau Swee Nguong Squash Centre at SMK Sacred Heart here from July 26-28.

Squash Racquet Association of Sarawak (SRAS) president Robert Lau Hui Yew said the first leg, in Kuching from June 28 to 30, saw over 150 competitors.

The third and final leg will be held in Miri from Sept 14-16.

Lau said the CMS Sarawak Circuit was aimed at targeting new players and those who could not make it to the CIMB National Circuit.

“We will use the Sarawak Circuit to search and recruit talents. These new talents will be groomed for the next CIMB National Circuit,” he explained.

Lau, who is also Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia vice president, said the state needed young players for the 2016 Sukma to be hosted by Sarawak.

He disclosed that the bulk of participants for the Sibu leg would be from Sibu to be joined by players from Kuching, Miri and Brunei.

The competition will feature four five categories – Under 9, U11, U13 and U15 – with an additional U17 category for boys. There will also be a men’s open category.

Lau said all eyes will be on the Under-9 National No. 1 Chris Lau.

The eight-year-old pupil of SJK (C) Dung San has been creating waves in the national U9 competitions this year.

The coming circuit will have matches from 9am to 8pm on July 26, 8am to 7.30pm on July 27, and 8 to 11.30am on July 28.

The main patrons of the tournament are Datuk Tiong Thai King, Vincent Lau Lee Ming, Hua Seng Sawmill Co Bhd, Reliance Transport Sdn Bhd, Premier Department Store and Premier Hotel. TN Sports are sponsoring the prizes.

Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapaee is expected to officiate at the competition.

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156 squash juniors compete in Borneo Cup Sun, 30 Jun 2013 17:26:58 +0000

THREE CHEERS: The winners getting together for a group photo with Idris (far left), and Lau (far right).

KUCHING: The first leg of S1 Squash Circuit for the CMS Borneo Cup Junior Open concluded yesterday on the courts of Sarawak Club.

With 156 participants in what is reputed to be the largest tournament ever held in the state, the tournament saw some 280 matches played over three days.

Players came from other parts of Malaysia and Singapore to join their counterparts from Sarawak.

Event organising chairman Idris Sulaiman, Squash Association of Kuching (SAK) president Jong Thian Lung and Squash Racquet Association of Sarawak president Robert Lau officiated at the prize giving ceremony.

Boys U-9:
1. Chris Lau Jui Rong (Sibu)
2. Kaydenne Keeshan Pragasam (Negeri Sembilan)
3. Pradeep Dev (KL)

Girls U-9:
1. Eva Zakharova (Selangor)
2. Wong Su Fei (Miri)
3. Iris Chieng (Miri)

Boys U-11:
1. Tommy Lau (Kuching)
2. Caleb Lau (Sibu)
3. Prasad Ruhem (Miri)

Girls U-11:
1. Zoe Ting (Kuching)
2. Sujithra Kunasekaran (KL)
3. Nathalie Sim (Kuching)

Boys U-13:
1. Harris Ramlee (KL)
2. Nathan Kueh (Miri)
3. Hardie Danial (Kuching)
Girls U-13:
1. Noor Ainaa (KL)
2. Josephine Yii (Sibu)
3. Charlize Goh (Kuching)

Boys U-15:
1. Eugene Heng (Selangor)
2. Darren Rahul (Negeri Sembilan)
3. Timothy Ling (Miri)

Girls U-15:
1. Brodie Tsen (Kuching)
2. Alya Atirah (KL)
3. Bernyce Tay (Singapore)

Boys U-17:
1. Ma Teck Leck (Miri)
2. Hamilton Tan (Miri)
3. Samuel Law (Kuching)

Girls U-17:
1. Danielle Wee (Miri)
2. Ma Si Yi (Miri)
3. Wong Su Lin (Miri)

Boys U-19:
1. Marcus Sim (Kuching)
2. Kelvin Lau (Sibu)
3. Alvin Yew (Sibu)

Girls U-19:
1. Michelle Wong (Kuching)
2. Mindy Lee (Kuching)
3. Jean Wong (Miri)

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SRAS to hold largest squash tourney in S’wak Thu, 20 Jun 2013 18:17:02 +0000

EXCITING TOURNAMENT: Jong (third left) and Yeo (fourth left) receiving the sponsorship from Poh (second right) while (from left) are Goh, Idris, Tan and Robert.

KUCHING: Squash Racquet Association of Sarawak (SRAS) will be organising the CMS Borneo Cup Junior Open which is the first leg of the CMS S1 squash circuit to be held at Sarawak Club from June 28-30.

Squash Racquet Association of Kuching (SAK) president, Jong Thian Lung said this will be the largest ever squash tournament held locally in the state’s squash history.

“For the first time in Sarawak, we are also giving away prize money to the top three finishers of the respective age categories. About 280 matches will be
played at the squash courts of the Sarawak Club,” he said in a press conference at the Sarawak Club yesterday.

Apart from attractive prizes sponsored by Lea Sports Centre, Milo and Koko Krunch, the champion will receive RM300, runner-up RM200 and third placing RM100 respectively.

Jong said 156 junior players from Kuching (75), Sibu (35), Miri (29), Kuala Lumpur (9), Singapore (3), Negeri Sembilan (2) and Selangor (2) have confirmed their participation in the three-day competition.

“Local players and enthusiasts will have the golden opportunity to see top ten ranked national players from their respective age categories and players from Singapore in action,” said Jong.

According to him, among those competing in the tournament are national Boys Under 9 top player Chris Lau of Sibu and No.2 Kayden Paragasan from Negri Sembilan, Boys Under 11 national No. 3 Tommy Lau of Kuching, Boys Under 15 national No. 9 Terry Lau of Sibu, Boys Under 15 national No. 5 Eugene Heng..

As for the girls’ contest, those competing will include national Girls’ Under 9 No. 7 Wong Su Fei of Miri, Eva Zakharova, a Russian girl playing for Selangor and Girls’ Under 11 national No. 10, Girls’ Under 11 national No. 9 Zoe Ting from Kuching, Girls’ Under 13 national No. 4 and No. 10 Josephine Yii of Sibu and Charlize Goh from Kuching and Girls’ Under 15 national No. 6 Ma Su Yi of Miri.

“Our goal is that if we can run the CMS Borneo Cup Junior Open successfully, we will be applying to host one of the Asian Squash Federation events and this will be a platform for players in Malaysia and the region to earn ranking points,” said Jong.

He took the opportunity to thank the Sarawak State Sports Council (MSNS), Lea Sports Centre, Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, Permanis Sdn Bhd and Water Genesis Sdn Bhd for their continuous support and making the event a great success.

SRAS will be holding the second leg of the CMS S1 squash circuit in Sibu from July 26-28 and the third leg in Miri from Sept 15-17.

Also present at the press conference were event organising chairman, Idris Sulaiman @ Dick, SAK vice president Connie Yeo, treasurer Irene Goh, Sarawak Club assistant general manager Robert Brodie, sports member Wilson Tan and Lea Sports Centre senior operation manager Poh Siok Hoon.

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Squash chief hopeful for Olympic bid Sun, 02 Jun 2013 17:59:18 +0000

SIBU: President of Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS), Robert Lau Hui Yew, strongly believes squash will eventually win the bid to be included as an Olympic sport.

Expressing relief that squash had been shortlisted as one of the three sports for the 2020 Olmypics, Lau said more efforts needed to be done to make it became a reality.

“All eyes will be on the final bid which will be held in September. Hopefully, squash will eventually get the nod,” he said when contacted.

Squash was among the three sports included in a shortlist for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board after a meeting in St Petersburg, Russia on Wednesday.

The other two sports are wrestling and baseball-cum-softball. It will vie for a single slot in the 2020 Olympic Games programme which is to be voted on by a full session of the IOC in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 8.

After eliminating five sports – karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu – the IOC will now meet for in the Argentinian capital from Sept 7 to 10 to vote.

Lau, however, cautioned against complacency, saying the big day would only come in September.

“We have just cleared the first hurdle. Let us work hard to ensure that squash will be eventually included in the 2020 Olympics to make our dream come true.”

Lau said wrestling, which had a much-longer history but was out-voted during the last round, was the biggest competitor for squash

However, he said squash had a bigger fan base, is more popular among younger players and the sport is played without any discrimination between men and women. “Moreover, squash is also a dynamic and a strenous game that can really push the players to the limit. All these factors combined can certainly give squash the nod.”

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Wrestling takes step towards Games rehabilitation Thu, 30 May 2013 19:23:49 +0000

Datuk Nicol David

SAINT-PETERSBURG: Wrestling’s chances of regaining its place on the Olympic sports roster moved a step closer on Wednesday as the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) included it in a shortlist of three to be voted on in September by the wider membership.

Wrestling is one of the Olympics’ most historic sports but was surprisingly voted off the list in February by the same Executive Board.

It will compete against squash and a joint softball/baseball bid in Buenos Aires on September 8.

Both softball and baseball were voted off as separate sports in 2009 and replaced by golf and rugby sevens, which will each make their debuts in 2016, Only one sport will be added to the roster.

Wrestling federation president Nenad Lalovic, who has spearheaded the campaign to regain their place since taking over after the decision to oust it, used a wrestling analogy to describe where they stood.

“The match is not finished, we heard that we got a second match to fight,” said the Serbian.

“But be careful because we are still fighters.”

Wrestling, one of the rare sports to transcend the ancient and modern Games, has introduced a sweeping range of reforms under Lalovic since it was voted off.

“For sure, it (the reforms) helps us,” he said.

“We had to do it much earlier. Probably, we wouldn’t have been in such a position.”

Squash great Nicol David, who appeared as part of the presentation team, was ecstatic at the result.

“This is a great day for Squash as it takes us one step closer to realising our long held ambition to join the Olympic Games,” said the seven-time women’s world champion.

“I said to the Executive Board that the one big regret in my career is that I have never had the chance to compete in the Olympic Games, but I would happily trade all my seven world titles for the chance of Olympic Gold.

“Hopefully that showed what competing in the Games means to me,” added David, who will be 37 should squash win the spot for the 2020 Games.

IOC President Jacques Rogge, who himself will be replaced in September when he steps down after 12 years in charge, said that all the sports had given a good account of themselves to him and his fellow 14 members of the Executive Board.

“The Executive Board received excellent presentations today from eight International Federations,” said Rogge.

“It was never going to be an easy decision but I feel my colleagues on the Board made a good decision in selecting baseball/softball, squash and wrestling to be put forward in Buenos Aires.

“I wish the three shortlisted sports the best of luck in the run-up to the vote in September and would like to thank the other sports for their hard work and dedication.”

Five other sports failed to get on the shortlist after making their presentations to the Executive Board: climbing, karate – which had been thought to be in with a good chance of making the list – martial art wushu, wakeboard – a nautical sport – and roller sports. — AFP

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Nicol David deals with disruptions for semi spot Sat, 25 May 2013 23:24:01 +0000

Nicol David

HULL, United Kingdom: World number one Nicol David had to deal with a weather-damaged programme, a difficult start, and a dangerously hard-hitting opponent on Friday before reaching the semi-finals of the British Open in defence of her title.

David also had to save a game ball in the first game of a 13-11, 11-8, 11-1 win over Joelle King, the tall sixth seeded New Zealander, who had moments early on when it seemed she might be able to bully the champion into trouble.

The biggest influence on the match however was the English rain and wind, which forced the day’s play away from the all-glass court erected outdoors on Hull City’s football pitch and into a nearby club with conventional plaster courts.

That required a third change of conditions in three matches, disrupting the players’ preparation and rhythm, which for a while appeared to place David under more pressure.

“It was like day and night,” said David, comparing the warmish indoor court with the chilly outdoor atmosphere the evening before. “But we have to deal with what we are given.

“It’s difficult but at the same time everyone is on the same boat. It’s a matter of whoever handles it better. You have to put your game together, but it’s easier said than done.”

For the first quarter of an hour it seemed that King might do it better. She struck the ball heavily, threatened to dominate the centre of the court with her long reach, and took an early lead.

David tried to move the ball around, and contained King’s attacks well, but for a while her accuracy was not as she would have liked. At 7-9 and 10-11 it seemed she might be slipping into difficulties.

However she played a long and patient attritional rally up and down the backhand wall on that vital game ball and was rewarded when King put a backhand volley down.

Two more errors followed from King, and suddenly the match was transformed. David relaxed and grew in confidence, and when she did that she showed how much she has improved as a creative player.

She began to make the ball cling more to the walls, she mixed the short and the long games nicely, and she struck the ball from the front to the back with increasing disguise.

After pulling away from 7-6 to 9-6 in the second game, she was in charge, and the third game became a procession. King had done enough to show that she might soon become a serious threat but not quite enough to impose that threat right now.

“I got confidence from that first game,” said David. “It gave me the opportunity to take advantage of the situation. In the end I was really pleased with my match.”

David will continue her bid for a fifth British Open title with a semi-final against the winner between Kasey Brown, the 12th-seeded Australian, and Alison Waters, the fourth-seeded Briton. — AFP

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Nicol only M’sian still in the running in British open squash Wed, 22 May 2013 03:32:32 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Datuk Nicol David is the only Malaysian player still in the running in the 2013 British Open squashchampionship being held at Pontefract in West Yorkshire, England.

Three other Malaysians, Delia Arnold, Low Wee Wern and Ong Beng Hee, wereshown the exit on Tuesday.

Nicol advanced into the second round after defeating a qualifier, JoshnaChinappa of India, in straight sets 11-4, 11-5 and 11-4 in just 30 minutes.

Delia lost to World No. 3 Raneem El Weleily of Egypt in a four-set matchafter making her way through to the main draw past two qualifying rounds.

She started off strongly by winning the first set 11-8 but lost the otherthree sets 7-11, 3-11 and 4-11 in a match that lasted 39 minutes. Low and Ong were shown the exit in the men’s category. — BERNAMA

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Afghanistan leader to push for Indian military aid Wed, 22 May 2013 00:33:36 +0000

NEW DELHI: Afghan President Hamid Karzai will seek to secure more military aid in talks with Indian leaders yesterday as he looks to beef up his security forces after international troops pull out next year.

Karzai was to hold talks late yesterday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee after accepting an honorary degree on Monday night from a university the northern state of Punjab.

The Afghan leader used his acceptance speech to thank India for its support since he came to power in 2001 after the fall of the Taliban.

“India, as a friend of Afghanistan, has made an immense contribution in uplifting its youths,” he said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

“India has contributed 2 billion from the hard-earned money of its taxpayers for the betterment of Afghanistan.”

India’s support for Karzai is a reflection of its desire to ensure that the departure of the US and other foreign forces in 2014 does not lead to the return of the radical Islamist Taliban to power in Kabul.

According to his spokesman, Aimal Faizi, Karzai will ask for ‘all kinds of assistance from India in order to strengthen our military and security institutions’ during his talks in the capital New Delhi.

An Indian foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the discussions would cover a potential arms deal between the two countries.

“India is ready to meet any request that would strengthen Afghan security institutions,” said the official.

“He (Karzai) is visiting India to discuss a potential arms deal.”

India has been training a limited number of Afghan military officers for years at its military institutions, but has provided little weapons assistance except for some vehicles.

The two countries are attempting to step up their already solid relationship before international troops leave Afghanistan in 2014, foreign policy expert Brahma Chellaney told AFP.

But any extra aid from India will be in the form of ‘indirect security assistance’ such as more training of security officers and transfer of technology, said Chellaney, strategic studies professor at New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research, a think-tank.

“This (Karzai’s visit) is part of a more intense interaction between the two countries before 2014,” he said.

“(But) there is no intention for India to have boots on the ground there.”

In 2011, India and Afghanistan began a ‘strategic partnership’ to deepen security and economic links.

But Indian activity in Afghanistan has triggered unease in neighbouring rival Pakistan, which fears losing influence in Afghanistan.

The former Taliban regime was allied with Pakistan and gave refuge to virulently anti-Indian Islamist extremists. — AFP

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Hard working Josephine taking one step at a time Tue, 21 May 2013 16:03:36 +0000

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Josephine polishing her skills at SMK Sacred Heart Squash Court.

SIBU: Never mind that she has been playing bridesmaid during the CIMB Rising Star National Junior Squash (RSNJS) championship but that will only spur Josephine Yii to train and work harder to excel.

The 13-year-old student of SMK Methodist is determined to stand on the podium one day to emulate the success of her squash idol and world No. 1 Datuk Nicol David.

“It will be my dream come true if I can ultimately reach that stage but it is a huge mountain to climb and I need to work extremely hard in order to attain success,” she said when interviewed.

Josephine took part in the recent CIMB RSNJS third leg held in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur and made it to the Girls’ Under 13 final, only to lose to Aifa Azman of Kedah 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-9).

“I was trying very hard but in the end, my inexperience and lack of fitness cost me the title and I lost to a much better and stronger player,” she conceded.

Yii admitted she still has a long way to go before she could dethrone Aifa, the U13 national No. 1, but she was not about to throw in the towel.

“I will continue to polish my game, improve my fitness and, hopefully, will be able to rise to the challenge when the time comes.”

In the CIMB RSNJS first leg held in Bukit Jalil last January, Josephine achieved her breakthrough when she secured the third placing.

The win spurred her to work harder and during the CIMB RSNJS second leg held in Malacca last March, Josephine lost to Aifa 6-11,7-11, 8-11 in the final showdown.

The result of the third leg or grand final again favored Aifa, causing further heartbreak to Josephine but she promised to come back stronger and make amends in future tournaments.

“I have been working hard with my Pakistani coach Awais Amir to assess my shortcomings and, hopefully, I will be able to turn the tables on Aifa when the time comes.”

Josephine will be promoted to the U15 category next year when more skilful and stronger opponents await.

They include the likes of the Ooi Kah Yien from Negri Sembilan, Chan Yee Wen from Kedah and Lai Wen Lee from Sabah.

All of them, including Aifa, are future stars to watch and represent the next generation of players who are set to make waves in the squash fraternity.

Josephine took up squash at the age of nine and it all came spontaneously.

It happened that her father, William Yii, brought her to SMK Sacred Heart to play badminton one day and the curious girl asked to go to look at the squash court which was located nearby.

Once she was inside the court, the then squash coach told her to try squash.

Since then, she has actively participated in the squash championships, both at the state and national levels.

Thus far, her best performance was the second placing in the 2nd and final leg of the CIMB RSNJS.

Her next big tournament will be the Ong Beng Hee Cup which will be held in October in Kuala Lumpur.

Josephine is racing against time and she is hoping to get at least something from the prestigious tournament where most of the top players in the country will participate.

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Chris cements reputation as squash rising star Tue, 09 Apr 2013 18:47:27 +0000

THE STAR CONTINUE TO SOAR: Chris Lau continues his championship run at the CIMB RSNJS held in Malacca recently.

SIBU: Young and supremely confident squash prodigy Chris Lau cemented his reputation as a rising star when he beat Kayden Keeshan Pragasam 3-0 at the CIMB Rising Star National Junior Squash (RSNJS) 2nd leg held in Hang Jebat Squash Court in Malacca recently.

The Under-9 national No. 1 made it all look all too easy as he effortlessly swept aside Kayden 11-6, 11-1, 11-6 to retain the crown for the Boys’ Under 9 category.

It was also his second consecutive victory over Kayden in the CIMB Rising Star National Junior Squash championship.

The pair met in the 1st leg when Chris also took full control to motor pass Kayden before wrapping up the game at 11-6, 11-4, 11-6.

The final leg, open to 32 top players from each age group, will be held in Bukit Jalil Sports Complex from May 9 to 12.

Chris knows that an intriguing battle is on hand for the Grand Final and he is not going to take anything for granted.

“I badly wanted to get the title as this is my final year in the Under 9 category and, hopefully, I can continue to stay focus and play consistently in the Grand Final to help bring glory to the state,” the petite 9-year-old primary two pupil of SJK © Dung Sang said.

More than 50 players from throughout the country took part in the various age group categories during the four-day championship aimed at tapping young talented squash players who would eventually be groomed to take over the mantle from the seniors.

Chris took up the racquets at the tender age of six before his talent was discovered by his then Pakistani coach Shahid Aziz.

He was roped in to undergo training for four to five days a week at the SMK Sacred Heart Squash Court, sparring with the senior players.

Currently, he trains under his Pakistani coach Awais Amir to improve on his hitting and retrieving skills.

In the recent Sarawak Schools Squash Championship held at SMK Sacred Heart, Chris competed in the U-12 category but failed to make any impact due to his younger age.

It was, nevertheless, a enriching exposure and the championship could also be a prelude to bigger days ahead for him. Chris will be promoted to the Boys’ Under-11 category next year.

Meanwhile, President of Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak Robert Lau Hui Yew described Chris’s performance at the CIMB RSNJS 2nd leg as another revelation of his potential.

“He is already the top player in the country for his category and there is only one choice for him and that is to nurture a winning attitude and establish himself before he is promoted to the Under 11 category next year where bigger challenges await.”

Lau said it would also be historic should Chris eventually won the Grand Final as he would become the first Sibu squash player to win the overall title for the CIMB RSNJS.

“Let’s wait for history to unfold,” he said.

On the performance of the Sibu players in the 2nd leg, Lau expressed satisfaction with the overall results.

Chris’s teammate Tang Thing Yew retained 6th position in the same category while another Sibu player who excelled was Josephine Yii in the Girls Under-13 category when she lost in the final to the defending champion Aifa Azman of Kedah.

Lau, who is also President of Sibu Squash Association, said they were also in the process of helping Sibu team build a better and stronger squad.

“We are fortunate to discover Chris who have the rare talent but what we need is more players like Chris in order to beef up our squad.”

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Back to drawing board for Nicol after KL Open loss Tue, 02 Apr 2013 00:45:05 +0000
RETURN SHOT: Nicol (front) in action during her CIMB Kuala Lumpur Open Squash Championships semi-final match against Massaro. — Bernama photo

RETURN SHOT: Nicol (front) in action during her CIMB Kuala Lumpur Open Squash Championships semi-final match against Massaro. — Bernama photo

GEORGE TOWN: Its back to the drawing board for World number one Datuk Nicol David after failing to make the final of the CIMB Kuala Lumpur Open Squash Championships which ended yesterday.

Nicol, seven consecutive world title winner and eight times Kuala Lumpur Open champion, failed to make the final after losing to England’s Laura Massaro in the semifinals.

“What happened in the Kuala Lumpur Open is disappointing. I will just go back to the drawing board … get cracking with the training and just make sure everything is in places and cover every angle possible,” she said after receiving RM100,000 as incentive from Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang (PBAPP), here yesterday.

Nicol, the country’s undisputed squash queen will start her preparations for the British
Open in Hull, England next month.

The Penang lass is expected to return to her training base in Amsterdam to continue her training before the tournament that is scheduled from May 20 to 26.

Speaking of Malaysia’s back up squad players, Nicol said though there was an eminent gap, the young players had improved tremendously.

“Players from Europe and Egypt have shown tremendous talent and potential so we need to compete with them. We can’t really push them.

“What we need to do is to nurture and encourage them because they can do well and let them keep moving to reach a higher level,” she said. — Bernama

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Karim, Laura clinches 2013 CIMB KL open title Sun, 31 Mar 2013 22:38:30 +0000
WHERE’S NICOL?: Karim Darwish (left) and Alison Waters (right) pose with their trophies at the awards ceremony for the CIMB KL Open Squash Championship in Kuala Lumpur. — AFP photo

WHERE’S NICOL?: Karim Darwish (left) and Alison Waters (right) pose with their trophies at the awards ceremony for the CIMB KL Open Squash Championship in Kuala Lumpur. — AFP photo

KUALA LUMPUR: England’s Laura Massaro stomped her supremacy to claim her maiden women’s CIMB Kuala Lumpur Open Squash Championships title, here, yesterday.

Laura, the competition’s third seed and world no.3, outclassed Alison Water in straight sets 11-9, 11-7, 11-6 in a lop-sided final that lasted just 44 minutes.

For her win, Laura pocketed US$10,200 (about RM31,500) and the coveted trophy while Alison took home US$6,900 (about RM18,720) for second spot.

“I am really happy with my performance this week. Initially I was trying to get past the quarters, having only ever made it to the semifinals, here before. Proud to have found my form but not sure where it has come from as I haven’t really been playing that well. So, I didn’t expect to play like that.

“I am glad to win the match after yesterday’s tough match against Nicol (David). It is really important for me to play well in the final. There’s a lot of pressure on myself,” the world no.3 told reporters.

In the men’s final earlier, top seed and world no. 6, Karim Darwish defeated his compatriot, Mohamed El Shorbagy in straight sets, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 in a 54-minute encounter, to clinch his second KL Open title.

Today’s match was the repeat of the 2011 edition when Karim defeated Mohamed for his maiden KL Open title.

“I expected a tough match against him (Mohamed). He is currently number five in the world, so I have to be 100 per cent fit to beat him in just three sets,” said Karim, who has strong support from his family.

He added that his wife, Engy Kheirallah, a former Egypt women squash player and a 10-month old son, Omar, served a big morale boost for him to win.

“I am happy my son can watch me playing squash for the first time. I think my son is my lucky charm and I will bring him to wherever I go for competitions,” he quipped.

For his win, Karim pocketed US$8,075 (about RM25,000) and a trophy, while Mohamed took home US$5,525 (about RM17,000). — Bernama

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Nicol eyes ninth cimb Kuala Lumpur open title Wed, 13 Mar 2013 22:41:41 +0000
Datuk Nicol David

Datuk Nicol David

KUALA LUMPUR: World number one Datuk Nicol David is all geared up to clinch her ninth CIMB Kuala Lumpur Open Squash championships title when the tournament gets underway from March 26 to 31.

In a statement issued by the Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) yesterday, Nicol who is also the defending champion, was among 15 top players in the world listed for the championships that will be held at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil and Berjaya Times Square.

Among the notable names on the list was world number two Raneem El Weleily from Egypt who has beaten Nicol in two of their three meetings, recently.

Malaysia will also be banking on world number six Low Wee Wern who had shown a marked improvement last year and Delia Arnold who received a wild card ticket.

In the men’s category, Malaysia has lined up the experienced Ong Beng Hee (no 22), Muhd Asyraf Azan who received a wild card ticket and Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan who plays in the qualifying round.

The men’s category will feature four of the top 10 players in the world with Mohamed El Shorbagy from Egypt (no 5) instilled as the top seed, fellow countrymen

Karim Darwish (no 6), defending champion Omar Mosaad (no 9) and Borja Golan from Spain (no 10).

The qualifying and preliminary rounds will be held in Bukit Jalil while the quarter-finals, semifinals and finals will take place at Berjaya Times Squares.

Meanwhile, SRAM president Datuk Syed Mustaffa Syed Ali the championships which offers RM310,000 as prize money would be sponsored by CIMB Group, Berjaya

Times Square Berhad, Pizza Hut Restaurant Sdn Bhd and Astro Arena. — Bernama

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Nine-year-old Chris shows remarkable potential in squash Wed, 27 Feb 2013 00:31:18 +0000

OK-squash-chris-lau-270213SIBU: Chris Lau is on track to become the next phenomenon in his sport after his sterling performance in the CIMB Rising Star National Junior Squash (RSNJS) Circuit 1st leg held in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur recently.

He swept aside Negri Sembilan’s Kaydenn Keeshan Pragasam 3-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-6) to lift the 1st leg title in the Under-9 category.

The second leg will be held in Malacca from March 14 to 17 with the Grand Finals scheduled from May 9 to 12 in Bukit Jalil.

“I may be the champion in the first leg but I hope to be able to do well in the 2nd leg and eventually the Grand Finals in order to make a name for myself in the squash fraternity,” the petite 9-year-old primary two pupil of SJK © Dung Sang said when interviewed.

More than 50 players from throughout the country took part in the four-day championship aimed at tapping the talented young players who would eventually be groomed to take over the mantle from the seniors.

Asked who his icons are, Chris immediately replied Malaysia’s squash queen Datuk Nicol David and World No. 4 Frenchman Gregory Gaultier.

“They are the best squash players in the world and I often watch them play during television live broadcast. Hopefully, I will be able to emulate them one day, so that I will also become as famous as them,” he said.

Chris took up the racquets at the tender age of six before he was discovered by the then Pakistani coach Shahid Aziz.

Since then, he had been training five days a week at the SMK Sacred Heart Squash Court, sparring with the senior players.

Currently, he trains under his new Pakistani coach Awais Amir and has improved on his hitting and retrieving skills.

In the recent Sarawak Schools Squash Championship held at SMK Sacred Heart, Chris competed in the U-12 category but he could not make his presence felt due to his tender age.

President of Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak Robert Lau Hui Yew described Chris’s performance at the recent CIMB RSNJS as spectacular, given the fact that he was up against some of the top young junior players in the country.

“He has a promising future and given proper exposure, he should be able to hog the limelight in due course,” he added.

Lau, however, cautioned of any burn-out, saying the young boy should not be put to any extreme test as he might find the pressure too hot to handle.

“There is reason that the boy will be better off if he is left on his own to pursue his favorite interest. So long as his passion for squash remains intact, he should be able to excel when the time comes,” he advised.

Lau said there was no shortcut to success and he believed Chris has the potential to be a champion, provided he got all the support and encouragement from his parents and coaches.

“He is definitely a potential champion in the making and, hopefully, he himself will keep the passion burning so that his love for squash will not diminish. Only with persistence, passion and interest in the sport will Chris move ahead,” he said.

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Sarawak Squash Association chief happy with popularity of sport Sat, 23 Feb 2013 22:30:22 +0000

SIBU: It looks like a jolly good season for the development of squash in the state with more players joining the bandwagon hoping to make an impact in the sport.

DARING TO DREAM: Promising players posing with Lau (second left) after the prize giving ceremony of the Sarawak Schools Squash Championship U-18 category. Looking on from left are SMK Sacred Heart principal Stephen Tan and Lim Chun Len, Head of Resource Department of Sibu Education.

DARING TO DREAM: Promising players posing with Lau (second left) after the prize giving ceremony of the Sarawak Schools Squash Championship U-18 category. Looking on from left are SMK Sacred Heart principal Stephen Tan and Lim Chun Len, Head of Resource Department of Sibu Education.

President of Sarawak Squash Association Robert Lau Hui Yew was all smiles when he talked about the increasing number of players taking up competitive squash these days.

“As the number of players increased, naturally standards also rise. This certainly augurs well for the development of squash in the state,” he said.

Lau revealed that there were so many good players that the association had to allocate which players to join which competition.

Among the many tournaments lined up, Lau highlighted the CIMB Rising Star National Junior Circuit, CIMB National Junior Circuit, Sarawak Circuit, the 9th National Junior Championship 2013 in July, the Milo All Star 2013 in May, Penang Junior Open in June, the 14th Ong Beng Hee/Nicol David Challenge Trophies 2013 in October and the BUFF Singapore Junior Open 2013 in December.

Lau added that it was unlike the older days when players had to be coaxed to take up the game, with some of them selected to play in most of the tournaments.

“We have the state, national and even international tournaments to keep the players busy all year round.

“That is one thing good in squash as this keeps the players from around the world in close contact,” he explained

Last year, he said that players who went to Singapore met new friends from Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In local competitions, they get to meet peers from different races.

“This is truly one sport that promotes the 1Malaysia spirit and promotes our Malaysian identity,” Lau observed.

He cited the example of Sarawak’s very own Sanya Singh Chal who used to play at state-level championships.

“He is the country’s top junior player now currently playing at the 16th Asian Junior team squash championship in South Korea,” he said.

“If you dare to dream big, yes, dreams do come true. Enjoy your game in squash and there is always a possibility that you will achieve your dreams,” Lau concluded.

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Strategies to become squash champion Fri, 22 Feb 2013 16:08:20 +0000

SIBU: Play smart, have plenty of stamina and possess good fighting spirit are the three pre-requisites in the making of a squash champion Lim Chun Len, the head of Resource Department of Sibu Education Department.

Speaking at the closing of the three-day Sarawak Schools Squash Championship held at SMK Sacred Heart yesterday, Lim said a player must be agile and have a strategic thinking mind in order to study the weaknesses of his opponent.

“In order to play smart, you must be skillful to play an accurate game and anticipate the movements of your opponent…if your opponent makes you run, you must also make him run and this is what we call strategic thinking,” he explained.

On stamina, Lim said: “It will be up to no good if you play like a tiger in the first and second rounds but running out of steam in the eighth or ninth round. That will not bring you anywhere.”

As for the fighting spirit, he said that remained the most lethal weapon in all sports.

“Never give up in your pursuit for glory. Remember, when you are very weak, your opponent will be as weak as you are. So if you persevere, there is always a chance for you to emerge the winner,” he said while thanking Sarawak Squash Association president, Robert Lau Hui Yew for promoting squash among the locals particularly the youngsters.

“So long as the players can continue to play well, I believe Lau will also be more than willing to offer financial help to ensure the development of squash is given full attention,” he enthused.

He also stressed the importance of parents’ support and the guidance of coaches in promoting the game.

Lim also mentioned the pivotal role played by Sibu Squash Association in getting the game to grow, noting that SMK Sacred Heart had been the venue for Sarawak Schools squash championships for six consecutive years.

He, however, said it was sad that only three teams were competing in this year’s competition.

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Nicol fails to defend Cleveland Classic title Wed, 06 Feb 2013 16:47:36 +0000

Datuk Nicol David

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen and world number one Datuk Nicol David failed to retain her Cleveland Classic title after losing to world number two, Raneem El Weleily of Egypt in the final on Tuesday.

According to the squash website,, the Malaysian went down in a gruelling five-setter that was held at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Ohio, United States.

Nicol won the first game 11-3 but the 24-year old Egyptian who was also the second seed, bounced back in the second set to win 11-5.

The third game was a close fight and the Malaysian came out top by winning 11-9 before El Weleily came alive again in the fourth and decider to register 11-5 and 11-9 win scores.

Meanwhile, Nicol in her twitter said she was satisfied with her performance although she lost to the top Egyptian player.

“Raneem took this one today in the final after a brutal 3-2 match. A great week in Cleveland and will have to come back next year,” said Nicol. — Bernama

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Datuk Nicol David outclass Wee Wern to advance to classic semis Tue, 05 Feb 2013 00:03:35 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen and world number one Datuk Nicol David advanced to the semi-finals of the 2013 Cleveland Classic Squash Championships after outclassing compatriot Low Wee Wern on Sunday.

According to a squash website,, the 29-year-old Nicol defeated Wee Wern in straight set 12-10, 11-6 and 11-9 in the quarterfinals held at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Ohio, United States.

Malaysia’s number two Wee Wern entered the quarterfinals after defeating Rachael Grinham of Australia in straight set of 11-4, 11-4 and 11-6 on Saturday. Nicol will be meeting Ireland’s Madeline Perry, who defeated fourth seed Joelle King of New Zealand 3-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3 and 11-5, in tomorrow’s semi- finals. — Bernama

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SMK St Joseph and SMK St Teresa shine in squash tourney Fri, 18 Jan 2013 16:32:21 +0000

THE WINNER: The winners of yesterday’s Under 18 MSSM Kuching Inter-School Squash Championship posing with the officials and organisers after the prize presentation. They will represent Kuching in the coming MSSM Inter-Division Squash Championship to be held in Sibu from Feb 20-22. — Photo by Chai Chang Yu

KUCHING: SMK St Joseph and SMK St Teresa dominated the Under 18 MSSM Kuching Inter-School Squash Championship after bagging the top four spots of the boys and girls events respectively.

In the Boys Under 19 final, Samuel Law defeated Johnathan Lee 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-7) while Alfred Tan finished third after beating Leong Shay Yie also by 3-0 (11-2, 11-6,11-8) at SMK St Joseph yesterday.

The Boys Under 15 title was won by Denhalm Tan of SMK Kuching High who edged SMK Padungan’s Bryan Tan 3-2 (7-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9) in the final.

Third was Putera Farrock from Tunku Putra International School who defeated Marcus Goh of Lodge Secondary School 3-0 (12-10, 11-9, 12-10) in the play-off match.

Pricilla Chai overcame the challenge from Rachel Phan in an all-SMK St Teresa final to win 3-1 (11-4, 10-12, 11-3, 11-9) while Aqeelah beat Nur Shamira 3-0 (11-3, 11-8, 11-6) in the play-off for third/fourth placings.

The Girls Under 15 final saw Lauren Brodie of SMK Batu Lintang easily defeated fellow teammate Nicole Tiong 3-0 (11-3, 11-4, 11-3).

Serena Tan was in third placing after beating teammate Sabrina Tan 3-0 (13-11, 11-8, 11-7) in the play-off for third and fourth spots.

Meanwhile, Hardie Daniel of SRK Green Road won the Boys Under 12 competition while the runner-up was Gregory Chai from Lodge Primary School.

Third and fourth were Kueh Jong Chan of Lodge Primary School and Clifford Thay from SJK Chung Hua No. 4 respectively.

The Girls Under 12 title went to Charlize Goh of Lodge Primary School while her teammate Zoe Ting finished in fourth place.

Second and third were Natalie Sim and Rachel Kong both from SJK Chung Hua No.4.

The top four winners of the categories competed will represent Kuching in the coming MSSM Inter-Division Squash Championship to be held at SMK Sacred Heart, Sibu from Feb 20-22 while the MSSM national championship will be held in Melaka in March.

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Nicol retains World Series Title for second time Mon, 07 Jan 2013 01:23:11 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s seven- time world squash champion, Datuk Nicol Ann David swept aside homester, Laura Massaro in the finals of the 2012 World Series Finals held at The Queen’s Club in London, Sunday.

It was Nicol’s second win in the World Series Finals.

The match was their second consecutive meet after the World Open championship in Cayman Islands last month.

Nicol started off her game brilliantly by controlling the first and second sets with 11-3 and 11-2.

The third set was more tense for both players compared to the first two sets in the game which took 37 minutes.

Although Laura conquered the first half of the third set, the world number one put up a strong challenge to seal the game with 11-9.

“In the third set, Laura was a bit aggressive but I was fortunate to win it 3-0,” said Nicol as interviewed by SkySport TV.– BERNAMA

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Datuk Nicol David eases into World Series final Sun, 06 Jan 2013 23:00:45 +0000

Datuk Nicol Ann David

LONDON: Seven-time world champion Datuk Nicol David eased into the title match at the World Series Squash Finals on Saturday with an 11-5, 11-8 win over France’s Camille Serme.

The world number one, who won the tournament in 2012, will face England’s Laura Massaro in Sunday’s final in a repeat of the pair’s World Open final showdown won by the Malaysian star in the Cayman Islands last month.

Massaro overcame compatriot Jenny Duncalf 6-11, 11-8, 11-9 in her semi-final.

“In our pool match, Laura was playing better on the day. She’s a tough player but I just know that as the week develops you feel better and better,” said Nicol, who had been surprisingly beaten by Massaro in a round-robin match on Thursday.

“I’m looking forward to playing the final and putting it all out there.”

In the men’s event, England’s Nick Matthew was facing French world number four Gregory Gaultier in his semi-final while James Willstrop takes on Egypt’s Amr Shabana. — AFP

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Nicol bounces back to reach semi-finals Sat, 05 Jan 2013 22:15:39 +0000

LONDON: Seven-time world champion Datuk Nicol David reached the last four of the World Series Squash Finals on Friday with an 11-4, 11-8 win over Natalie Grinham of the Netherlands.

The Malaysian star’s round-robin stage win came just a day after she had suffered a shock 12-10, 11-9 loss to England’s Laura Massaro, the woman she defeated in the World Open final last month.

World number one Nicol was to play France’s Camille Serme in yesterday’s semi-finals at London’s Queen’s Club. Serme made the last four despite losing 11-8, 11-6 to world number two Raneem El Weleily on Friday.

England duo Massaro and Jenny Duncalf were to meet in the other semi-final. — AFP

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Nicol moves to Semi-finals of World Series Finals Fri, 04 Jan 2013 20:28:09 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Newly crowned world champion, Datuk Nicol Ann David booked her berth in the semi-finals of the 2012 World Series Finals at The Queen’s Club in London, Friday.

In the final Group A match, the seven-time world champion took only 19 minutes to outclass Natalie Grinham 11-4 and 11-8.

In her quest for her second World Series title, Nicol, 29, has earned two wins and suffered a loss to homester, Laura Massaro in yesterday’s group match.– Bernama

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Nicol David in seventh heaven Sat, 22 Dec 2012 22:26:12 +0000

GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands: Datuk Nicol Ann David extended her record of World Open titles to seven from eight finals Friday with a balanced performance and great patience to beat English third seed Laura Massaro.

The Malaysian heroine’s 11-6 11-8 11-6 victory silenced critics who had suggested younger rivals were closing the gap on the 29-year-old champion. Massaro forced many long rallies and even led 7-5 in the second game, but David responded well to the important moments which followed.

She mixed containment with well-timed drops and lightning-quick changes of direction that prevented her opponent from getting a crucial foothold in the match.

The outcome was that David only dropped one game throughout the entire tournament, but she had to focus harder and for longer in the final than in any of her four other encounters.

Her relief and joy at surviving the perpetual pressure of expectations yet again was smilingly obvious.

She held her head in both hands, then placed her hands high on the court, and finally caressed the ball affectionately against a wall before allowing herself to accept that no more was required of her racket.

Then her words reflected the frequent struggle between doubt and self-confidence.

“I can’t believe it,” she said. “I just can’t believe it.

“I am just so pleased with my match. Laura pushed me every point. There was no point where I could let up because she was just on it every point. She played a very good match.”

David knew the danger well as Massaro is one of the few players to have beaten her twice. However, she did so last year and, although the challenger has improved further since then, the champion at her best has too, perhaps just as much. — AFP

Two of the most crucial moments came when David got back to 7-7 in the pivotal middle game and then nosed ahead to 8-7 with a disputed point.

The levelling rally saw brilliantly nimble retrieves from David, plus some patient backhand wall straight driving with a tight little backhand drop to finish it.

That was followed in the next rally by a marginally mistimed backhand drive by Massaro, which caused the ball to come away from the wall and resulted in her slightly impeding David.

A penalty stroke was awarded, Massaro’s video review appeal failing to get the decision overturned.

David pushed hard to capitalise, offered a rare fist pump when she broke through to a two-game lead, and was quickly five points up in the third and motoring away.

“I am a little bit disappointed with that,” said Massaro, who had saved a match point in a long and hard semi-final with Raneem El Weleily, the second-seeded Egyptian, and may have paid a price in the third game of the final.

“It was just a few points here and there and that’s all the difference,” she said. “The middle of the games were so crucial and that’s what I have to work on.

“It’s still pretty rare that she is beaten. We are still training hard and improving and she’s rising to the challenge.”

To do that well as she moves through her 30th year, David may need to select peaks more carefully for the tournaments she really wants to win.

But at her best, she is still too fine an athlete and too steady a rallyer for everyone, even during her moments of doubt. Her high profile among the all-time greats is likely to rise yet further. — AFP

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Nicol, Laura set up final date at World Open Fri, 21 Dec 2012 20:26:44 +0000

EYE ON THE BALL: Nicol David of Malaysia (right) competes in the women’s final against Laura Massaro of England at the Australian Open squash tournament in Canberra, in this August 19 file photo. Nicol David beat Massaro 17-15, 11-2, 11-6. — AFP photo

KUALA LUMPUR: World number one Datuk Nicol David stayed on course for her seventh Women’s World Open squash title after defeating England’s Jenny Duncalf to reach the final.

Nicol, 29, who has won six World Open titles, needed only 37 minutes to beat Jenny in straight sets 11-7, 11-4, 11-2 at the glass court mounted at Camana Bay in Cayman Islands, on Thursday.

“Jenny was playing some great shots at the start. I just couldn’t tell where the ball was going next and I wasn’t able to play my own game.

“I really had to up my game to stay in it and thankfully I got it all together as the match wore on,” said Nicol as quoted in the competition official website,

Nicol will be meeting world number three, Laura Massaro of England in the final tomorrow.

“It is great to be in another final here, especially the World Open. Laura and I both know we have to step up our game for tomorrow, so it should be a great battle,” said Nicol.

Their last meeting in a final match this year was at the Australian Open on Aug 19, where Nicol won the title for the second time.

Meanwhile, Laura booked her berth in the final after defeating second-seed Raneem El Weleily of Egypt in a gruelling five-set encounter which lasted for an hour and nine minutes before emerging victorious with 5-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-4 and 13-11. — Bernama

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Nicol advances to semi-finals, Wee Wern bows out Thu, 20 Dec 2012 18:29:21 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: National squash queen, Datuk Nicol Ann David cleared another hurdle when she marched triumphantly into the last four of the Women’s World Open Squash Championship.

In the competition held at the Camana Bay in Cayman Islands on Wednesday, the world number one outclassed Ireland’s Madeline Perry, 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3 in 51 minutes.

According to the competition official website,, Nicol will play England’s Jenny Duncalf in the semi-finals today.

Jenny had defeated her compatriot, Alison Waters in a gruelling five-set match which lasted for an hour and 17 minutes before coming out victorious on 7-11, 17-19, 11-5, 11-4 and 11-9.

The other semi-final match will be between Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily and England’s Laura Massaro.

Raneem booked her berth when she beat Netherland’s Natalie Grinham in straight sets of 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 in just 26 minutes, while Laura defeated Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern 8-11, 11-4, 11-5 and 11-5 in 45 minutes. — Bernama

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Nicol David retain Hong Kong Open Title Sun, 02 Dec 2012 12:59:55 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR:  Top seed and world number one Datuk Nicol David sealed her eighth successive Hong Kong Open title after defeating Camille Serme of France in the final.

According to the competition official website,, the 29-year-old Malaysian squash queen outclassed the unseeded Camille 11-9, 11-6, 8-11 and 11-7 in the match held at a glass-court mounted at the Piazza, Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Kowloon, Hong Kong, Sunday.

It was Nicol’s first meeting with Camille in the final of the Women’s Squash Association (WSA) tours.

Camille booked her berth in the final after defeating Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy in a gruelling five set thriller with a score of 11-9, 4-11, 11-7, 11-13 and 11-6, yesterday.– Bernama

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Nicol storms into HK Open semis Fri, 30 Nov 2012 17:38:07 +0000


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s world number one women’s squash player Datuk Nicol David has advanced into the semi-finals of the 2012 Hong Kong Open squash championship.

In the quarter-final held at the Hong Kong Squash Centre glass court in Hong Kong yesterday, the 29-year-old Penangite defeated Australia’s Kasey Brown to book her semi-final berth.

Nicol once again had an easy passage in her quest for her eighth Hong Kong Open title when she won the quarterfinal match in straight sets, 11-2, 11-4 and 11-3 in 30 minutes.

She will be meeting eighth seeded Natalie Grinham of the Netherlands, who defeated third seeded Jenny Duncalf of England 11-8, 10-12, 11-2 and 11-5 in 49 minutes, in the semi-final.

Meanwhile, in the other semi-final match encounter is between France’s Camille Serme and Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy. Camille booked her berth when she beat Natalie’s elder sister, Rachael of Australia in straight sets of 11-6, 11-7 and 12-10 while Omneya created an upset over sixth seeded Alison Waters from England. She ousted Waters in 11-9, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8 and 11-9. — Bernama

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Entries for squash clinic still open Thu, 08 Nov 2012 17:06:57 +0000

KUCHING: Over 40 primary and secondary school students in Bau are expected to participate in the squash clinic organised by Squash Association of Kuching (SAK) at Redeems Centre in Singai tomorrow from 9am to 12pm.

Squash Racquets Association of Sarawak (SRAS) committee member, Connie Yeo is calling for more students to join the event and to try out squash as their favourite game.With hard work and determination, perhaps one day they can emulate Malaysia’s very own squash star Azlan Iskandar and national squash queen, Datuk Nicol David the reigning world number one player.

According to Yeo, 120 students turned up for a clinic organised in March last year and only seven remained active and participated in the recent CMS Squash Circuits held in Miri, Sibu and Kuching.

“This clinic is primarily aimed at recruiting new players for our Bau training centre at Redeems Centre and we also want to create an awareness of the sport especially among children,” said Yeo who is former Saks chairman.

“From the talent scouting, the identified potential players will be groomed into state and national players,” she added. The players will be placed under the Azlan Iskandar Squash Academy (AISA) where they will be guided by coach Immanuel David and a few former national players.

Tomorrow’s clinic will be conducted by Immanuel who is assisted by Zoe Ting and the students will be exposed to the basics of the game while senior players will play demonstration matches.

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Association to hold squash clinic for junior players this weekend Wed, 07 Nov 2012 17:38:41 +0000

AMBITIOUS: File photo of Sarawak junior squash players as they pose for a photo call after a tournament in Sibu recently. The Squash Association of Kuching (SAK) is keen to introduce the sport of squash to the younger generation here.

KUCHING: The Squash Association of Kuching (SAK) is keen to introduce the sport of squash to the younger generation here by scouting new talents, grooming them to become national-class players.

The association is hosting a squash clinic at Bau this coming Saturday. According to SAK chairman Emmanuel David, the aim of the clinic is to introduce the game of squash to the younger generations, especially those at the primary and lower secondary schools.

For this weekend’s programme, he added that the schools from all over Bau are formally invited to join the clinic which will be held at the Redeems Centre, Singai. He expects a cohort of 30 to 40 at the centre this weekend.

“We can never know whether we’ll find the next Datuk Nicol David here in Sarawak. The squash ace has been a top sporting icon here in the country and the world until today and we’ll hope many will follow her footsteps,” said Emmanuel to The Borneo Post.

He too revealed that the clinic was held for the inaugural time last March at the same place. Seven young players were identified and they did well during the 2012 Squash Circuit competition held in Kuching, Sibu and Miri recently.

“These kids did well during the previous competitions whereby they got themselves an overall fifth placing. We will ensure that they improve as they grow and also continue to find more young talents,” he said.

After the clinic, selected players will be placed under the Azlan Iskandar Squash Academy (AISA). These also include players who attend the clinic last March.

“We aim to recruit as many Sarawakian players as possible. There will be no end in the search of quality players,” he enthused.

For the record, AISA is squash academy lead by the Sarawak-born national champion squash player Azlan Iskandar. Emmanuel continued that the star player has been a tremendous inspiration for the young kids who aspire to become squash players in the state.

Apart from Azlan, the academy, which has branches nationwide, is also run by a few former national players.

These professionals help structure comprehensive training programmes to help the young squash players. This weekend’s clinic is scheduled to start at 12noon.

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Nicol lifts first US Open title Sat, 13 Oct 2012 23:09:31 +0000

Sweet revenge as squash queen defeats M’sian Open champ Raneem

MAIDEN US OPEN TITLE: Nicol edged Raneem in a four-set match to avenge her defeat to the Egyptian at the Malaysian Open final. — Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: National squash queen and world number one Datuk Nicol David tasted her maiden US Open Squash Championship victory when she defeated Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily on Friday.

The 29-year-old top seed edged Raneem in a four-set match to win 14-12, 8-11, 11-7 and 11-7 in 45 minutes and avenge her defeat to the Egyptian last month at the Malaysian Open final.

Nicol’s victory at her first-ever US Open final was also a new WSA record as she surpassed Sarah Fitz-Gerald’s record of 62 titles with her 63rd.

According to the tournament’s official website,, the match against Raneem was Nicol’s 80th appearance in the Women Squash Association (WSA) competition finals, during her illustrious career. The match was held at a glass court mounted at Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Centre in Philadelphia, the United States.

“I can’t believe it. I keep thinking I should still be out there running after Raneem’s drop shots like I’ve been doing all night.

“When she gets on a roll like she did in the third she can score six points before you’ve even moved off the ‘T’, but I just got my act together, became more positive and stronger on my shots and played my game, not hers, which is what Liz (Irving) had told me to do.

“It feels fantastic to be US Open champion!

“Next I just hope we can get in the Olympics, if we do I’ll make sure I’m there, even if I have to turn up with my walking stick,” said Nicol.

In the men’s category, Egypt’s Ramy Ashour claimed the coveted trophy when he outpaced France’s Gregory Gaultier in straight sets, 11-4, 11-4 and 11-9 in 43 minutes. — Bernama

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Nicol makes it to U.S. Open Squash final Fri, 12 Oct 2012 04:04:32 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR: Six-time world champion Datuk Nicol Ann David was on track for her maiden United States Open Squash Championship title Thursday.

Nicol will be meeting second seed and world number three Raneem El Weleily of Egypt in the final.

The 29-year old Penangite had to encounter a gruelling match which lasted for over an hour and 23 minutes against a qualifier, Joelle King of New Zealand.

“I just knew that it’s not over until it’s over. I’ve been there before and it’s just down to being determined not to let it go, not making any error and getting my momentum back.

“I did that, I’ve found my game, and I’m so pleased to win 3-2 and make the final,” the competition official website, quoted Nicol as saying. –Bernama

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Nicol in U.S. open squash semifinal Wed, 10 Oct 2012 03:24:31 +0000
KUALA LUMPUR: Six-time world squash champion Datuk Nicol Ann David had sweet revenge over England’s Alison Waters to book a berth in the semifinals of the United States Open 2012 on Tuesday.
In the first half of the quarterfinal matches held at the glass court mounted at Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Centre in Philadelphia, the 29-year-old world number one took 41 minutes to outclass Alison 11-5, 11-7 and 11-9.
“She was always going to be up for it, having beaten me last week. So, I knew I had to start strong and fight for every point to stop her getting the feeling that she had it again.
“I think I got used to playing on the court a bit quicker than her, but in the third she was finding her length better and becoming more comfortable. It was neck and neck, so I was really pleased to finish it in three,” the competition official website, quoted Nicol as saying.
Nicol was defeated by Alison in the quarterfinals of the Carol Weymuller Open in New York on Sept 28. Nicol, who is aiming to win her first US Open title, added: “Hopefully this should kickstart me for a big push in the rest of the tournament.” -Bernama
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Kuching juniors triumph in CMS squash circuit Mon, 17 Sep 2012 17:43:32 +0000

WINNERS CIRCLE: Squash Racquets Association Sarawak (SRAS) president Robert Lau hands over the grand prize to the Kuching team representative Connie Yeo after the final of the CMS S1 Squash Circuit 2012 (Kuching leg) yesterday.

KUCHING: Pre-tournament favourites Kuching division lived up to their top billing to emerge champions of the CMS S1 Squash Circuit 2012 (Kuching leg) yesterday.

Rising squash talents Terry Lau, Jess Tay, Zoe Ting together with newcomer Nathalie Sim all finished first in their respective age and gender categories to hand Kuching the win. Five boys?and four girl categories were contested during the tournament which was held here from September 15 to 17.

The tournament was organised by Squash Racquets Association Sarawak (SRAS) with the purpose of unearthing new squash talents in the state. Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS) group managing director Dato Richard Curtis and National squash ace Azlan Iskandar were also present yesterday to give away the prizes to the winners.

“This is one activity that is worth our time and commitment. We are committed to build programs that encourages our youths and younger future generation do be involved in sports and healthy activities,” said Curtis after the tournament prize-giving ceremony.

Commenting on the tournament, Curtis said that the competition is the ideal platform to search for young squash talents and it is essential that more meaningful and healthy activities such as this be held more often.

According to SRAS president Robert Lau, SRAS is always on the look out for new, young and fresh talents. The tournament itself is one of the steps taken by the association to unearth new potential junior squash players.

“We are very glad that the public here in Sarawak is being very supportive of squash. We will do our best to promote the sport,” he said.

In another development, Lau revealed that SRAS is still new and he was glad that the state finally has its own squash association. The association’s constitution has been approved by the Registrar of Societies last June 22.

“We are no longer a branch of Squash Racquets Association Malaysia (SRAM). We are now a full member of SRAM and we are proud of our new association. As for now, SRAS uses a delegate system made up three affiliates. There are still rooms for further improvement on the constitution though,” he revealed.

SRAS’s next activity here will be the ASF Level 1 Coaching course which will be held this November.

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