Sunday September 9, 2012
Nafiizwan now aims to step up to the plate
PETALING JAYA: National No. 2 squash player Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (pic) believes that while it is sad to see Mohd Azlan Iskandar calling it quits, it could also motivate the others to step up to the plate.
Azlan announced his retirement last Sunday.
The 26-year-old Nafiizwan, who has looked up to Azlan as a brotherly figure since he went to London in 2006 to train under Peter Genever (now the national elite coach), described Azlan’s retirement as a big loss to the sport.
“It’s sad that Azlan has retired as he is only 30 years old ... it’s definitely a big loss to Malaysia as he is a model sportsman,” said Nafiizwan.
“But, in a way, it may bring some positive impact to the other players because it means that now we really have to stand up and be counted.
“Azlan will still be around as he still trains regularly. There are lots of things that the younger players can learn from him since he is going to be around more often.
“I’m really happy that I’m now the second ranked player in the country but it also means more pressure and higher expectations on me.
“I plan to look at things positively and will train harder to achieve good results. It’s time to show the world that I am also a good player,” added the world No. 33.
Nafiizwan, who finished as runner-up in the national championships last week after losing to veteran Ong Beng Hee, will shift his focus to the CIMB Malaysian Open, which begins tomorrow.
The Terengganu-born player, who received a wildcard to compete in the main draw, can expect a tough time after being drawn to face fourth seed and world No. 15 Adrian Grant of England in the first round.
Should he upset the Englishman, Nafiizwan is likely to meet 2010 runner-up Tarek Momen of Egypt in the quarter-finals, with top seed Karim Darwish lurking in the semi-finals.
National No. 1 Beng Hee faces Swiss ace Nicolas Mueller in the first round.