Sunday March 17, 2013
Nicol believes juniors must be given time to bloom
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Nicol David believes Malaysia has a bright future in squash if the current batch of juniors are given the right guidance.
The seven-time world champion was impressed by the recent results achieved by the juniors at international level.
At the recently-concluded NSC Series No. 1 tournament, 16-year-old Rachel Arnold defeated three higher-ranked players to finish as runner-up.
Other juniors who have made an impression are Ng Eain Yow, who won the British Junior Open Under-15 title in January, and Penang’s Vanessa Raj who is the world No. 93.
“It’s looking very encouraging for Malaysia if these results continue to come through from the next generation,” said Nicol, who turns 30 in August.
“I, for one, would like to congratulate them for their amazing achievements.
“However there is a need for a continued competitiveness among the juniors so that they can keep improving. But at the same time, they have to enjoy the game too.
“Right now these juniors are still young and should not be pressured to perform like me, (Low) Wee Wern or (Ong) Beng Hee.
“Instead, they should be encouraged to play with the motivation to do their best whilst constantly challenging each other and improving themselves.
“That’s how the Egyptians are producing great talents from a young age ... due to the friendly rivalry and that’s what we need to learn too,” added Nicol.
The Penangite will return from her training base in Amsterdam next week to prepare for the CIMB KL Open from March 26-31.
Nicol, who is gunning for her ninth KL Open title, will take on a qualifier in the first round. She is tipped to face either third seed Laura Massaro of England or sixth seed Wee Wern in the semi-finals.
Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily, who has scored a couple of wins over Nicol recently, is the second seed. She is expected to make the final for a much anticipated rematch between the top two players in the world.