The national squash team won first place in the Women’s and Men’s categories in the final of the 2021 Asian Team Squash Championship at the Bukit Jalil National Squash Centre, December 4, 2021. — Bernama pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — The national women’s squash squad have cemented their standing as Asia’s best after beating Hong Kong and winning the Women’s Asian Team Championship title.
Malaysia’s 2-1 victory over defending champions Hong Kong in the final at the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil today, is the 10th time the country has won the championship.
Hong Kong, with four championship wins, made a comeback when Tong Tsz Wing beat Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9.
Malaysia, however, settled matters when 2021 Malaysian Open champion, Aifa Azman dominated her match against Ho Tze Lok, winning 11-4, 11-3, 11-6.
Speaking to reporters after the match, Aifa, who was overjoyed with the team’s win, admitted that the national squad faced a stiff challenge and were slightly fatigued after having finished the Malaysian Open championship last week.
“Rachel and Aina did really well, Rachel eased the pressure on us and I know Aina already did her best. So, I went in and I didn’t really give any chance to Hong Kong. I know I really needed to start with a very strong game,” she said.
Rachel Arnold, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction over her performance today after losing to Japanese player Satomi Watanabe in the semi-finals yesterday.
“I was really disappointed with my performance yesterday and I am glad that I did better today,” she said, adding that she was delighted that Malaysia had retaken the championship title after having last won it in 2016.
Meanwhile, the men’s national squash squad also did not disappoint, ending their 13-year championship drought as they edged India 2-1 in the men’s finals.
Top national squash player Ng Eain Yow easily beat Malaysian Open champion 12-10, 11-4, 11-8, but India fought back through Mahesh Mangaonkar, who defeated Mohammad Syafiq Mohd Kamal 11-9, 11- 7, 11-8.
Malaysia, however, ensured their fourth Asian men’s team title when Ivan Yuen triumphed over Ramit Tandon 11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 11-1.
Eain Yow said the national squad had anticipated a tough time against India, but it only served to motivate them to perform better and win the title.
Ivan Yuen expressed his relief after overcoming his Indian rival, although the groin injury he sustained in the middle of the year impacted his performance.
“I was glad I managed to sort out my injury had since mid-year. I prepared myself well back home and I was really grateful that I managed to overcome the injury and came back stronger,” he added.
Negri Sembilan Yang di-Pertuan Besar Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir graced the final match with his presence. — Bernama