Saturday February 16, 2013
Squash or studies dilemma for Rachel
KUALA LUMPUR: This is an important year for Rachel Arnold – she has to decide between professional squash and studies.
Her performances in several upcoming tournaments, starting with the Asian Junior Team Championships in Seoul from Feb 20-24, will definitely be taken into account when she she sits down to decide on what to do at the end of this year.
Her main tournament this year is the World Junior Championships in Poland in July.
“I want to be a professional squash player like Nicol David and Low Wee Wern but it all depends on how I fare in all the tournaments this year. Studies are just as important to me. I’ll make a decision at the end of this year,” said Rachel, who will be sitting for her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.
“For now, I’m doing fine juggling my time between studies and squash.”
The 17-year-old Rachel is determined to live up to her role in the team event in Seoul as the third player. The top two players are national juniors Vanessa Raj and Celine Yeap. The other member of the team is Teh Min Jie.
“This is the first time I’ll be playing as the third player in the deciders. In fact, this is my debut in a team event at the junior meet. I took part in the individual event last year and made it to the quarter-finals,” she said.
“I played in a team event once but that was in the Malaysian Games (Sukma). I was the first player for Kuala Lumpur and we finished third.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to deliver when it matters most in Seoul. The fancied teams at the Asian juniors are Hong Kong and India. It’ll be great if we can reach the final.”
Rachel, the younger sister of national No. 3 Delia, took up squash when she was five years old largely due to to the influence of her father Raymond Arnold, who was a national coach at that time.
“I’ve not won any major junior titles. I was ranked fifth in the recent British Juniors. I’m looking for better results this year and, hopefully, do well in the World juniors, which is my main event this year,” she said.
For the record, Malaysia swept both the girls’ and boys’ titles in 2009 Asian Junior meets. But last year, the girls’ team lost to Hong Kong in the final while the boys’ team lost to Pakistan in the semi-finals.
The boys’ team comprise Sanjay Singh Chal, Muhd Syafiq Mohd Kamal, Darren Chan Ti Lunn and Mohd Amir Farhan Ampandi. All of them will leave for Seoul tomorrow.