PETALING JAYA: The squash players are pumped up and ready to step up to the plate at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in the absence of their injured comrade.
The Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director of coaching Major (Rtd) S. Maniam said this is the positive change that he could see in the team after gold-medal prospect S. Sivasangari’s unfortunate withdrawal.
The 23-year-old Sivasangari was sidelined after she suffered injuries to her head and spine following a car crash.
The Kedahan was supposed to be the flag bearer at the Games which starts from July 28-Aug 8 but has now been replaced by teammate Aifa Azman.
In her place, Chan Yiwen will join Aifa and Rachel Arnold in the singles.
The other members of the squad are Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi (pic), Ng Eain Yow, Ivan Yuen, Syafiq Kamal, Addeen Idrakie and Ong Sai Hung.
“All the players are saddened by the incident befalling Sivasangari because she is a key player in the team.
“But I think her renowned fighting spirit will spur the team to do well on her behalf,” said Maniam.
Despite Sivasangari’s absence, there were no changes in the training routine and it has been three weeks since the team started preparations for the Games.
The coaches have been putting more emphasis on the doubles as the players lacked experience in the event.
“Preparations are going well so far. Whenever there’s time we’ll focus on the doubles as the players rarely get to compete in the event,” added Maniam.
Even with the reshuffle, the team hope to bring home one or two medals from the Games.