Saturday March 9, 2013
Nicol skips Asian meet, pressure now on Wee Wern
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Nicol David will not compete in the Asian Individual Squash Championships, which will be held in Islamabad, Pakistan, from May 1-5.
But national No. 2 Low Wee Wern has decided to compete despite growing concerns about security issues in Pakistan.
With eight-time champion Nicol out of the equation, the challenge of bringing home the women’s title, which Malaysia have won since 1998, will fall on the shoulders of Wee Wern.
The world No. 6 Penangite is certain to be the top seed and her main challengers should be world No. 10 Annie Au of Hong Kong, India’s Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa as well as national No. 3 Delia Arnold.
The men will be represented by the likes of defending champion Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan, national No. 1 Ong Beng Hee, Mohd Asyraf Azan and Ivan Yuen.
“Despite the security concerns, I’m hoping that the Asian Squash Federation (ASF) will make sure it is safe for us,” said Wee Wern.
“The Asians have always been a big fixture on the Squash Association of Malaysia (SRAM) and the National Sports Council’s (NSC) calendar.
“NSC have sponsored me since I was young. Also, having won three Asian Junior titles, I decided that it’s only right that I compete and have a good outing.
“Besides, I’d also like to fill in for Nicol because she’s the one who has been delivering the medals.”
Wee Wern also hoped that SRAM would approve her request to have her coach Aaron Soyza accompany her for this tournament.
“There’s no guarantee that I’ll win with Aaron ... but having him around, someone who knows my game best, would probably help,” she said.
“Besides, there’ll be added pressure on me since I’ll be the top seed for the first time.”
Wee Wern also revealed that she’s in talks to sign a deal with a core sponsor – a move that could give her greater freedom in participating in tournaments.