Squash lass pursues dream in the US


Lai Wen Li (left) and Sivasangari.

KOTA KINABALU: The wait is finally over for Lai Wen Li.

After delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Sabahan national player has finally arrived in the United States as she looks to start a new challenge and reach new heights in her squash career.

Wen Li, 20, has been accepted into the Cornell University in 2019 and was scheduled to travel in August last year but it was later postponed to December and after another delay, she finally set foot in Ithaca, New York on January 25.

“I’m really happy to be finally here to experience my college life,” said Wen Li, who has been named in the Ivy League research university women’s squash team that also features her national teammate Sivasangari Subramaniam.

And she was excited to be able to train under former world number one and two-time world champion David Palmer as well as Mark Burke.

“I’m very excited and nervous as it is a new chapter for me and also a new environment to adapt to,” said Wen Li who will resume her second semester on February 8 after completing the first semester via online class.

According to her, she will compete in the local college matches while also likely to take part in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) tournaments depending on her class schedules.

She said that with the vaccine now available, training may start tentatively in a couple of months in preparation for the universities games.

“Hopefully the PSA circuit can resume by the middle of the year,” she said.

Towards this end, Wen Li thanked all who have been supporting her to pursue her dream in the sport.

They include the Squash Racquets Association Malaysia, Sabah Sports Council, National Institute of Sports and Sabah Squash Association.

“I would also like to thank my parents for their financial and moral supports as well as my coaches and fellow friends.

“Their encouragement and support  have helped me to reach where I am today,” she said.