Sunday, October 5, 2014

Published on 2014 Incheon Asian Games official blog on October 2, 2014: http://blog.incheon2014ag.com/squash-malaysia/

Malaysia squash team wrapped up a remarkable performance by achieving two golds, two silver and one bronze as the squash events came to an end on September 27, 2014 at Yeorumul Squash Courts.
Malaysians (from top left) Azlan Iskandar, Ong Beng Hee, Mohd Nafiizwan bin Mohd Adnan and Ivan Yuen Chee Wern of men’s team; women’s team include Datuk Nicol David (from bottom left), Delia Arnold, Low Wee Wern and Vanessa Raj Gnanasigamani posing with their medals after the victory ceremony.
Malaysians (from top left) Azlan Iskandar, Ong Beng Hee, Mohd Nafiizwan bin Mohd Adnan and Ivan Yuen Chee Wern of men’s team; women’s team include Datuk Nicol David (from bottom left), Delia Arnold, Low Wee Wern and Vanessa Raj Gnanasigamani posing with their medals after the victory ceremony.
The women’s team presented their incredible reign at the Asian Games, winning over India 2-0 while the men’s team secured the silver medal and lost 0-2 to India. Delia Arnold started off the Malaysia women’s team finals, taking down Anaka Alankamony in three sets, scoring 11-9, 12-10 and 11-2 in 43 minutes. World-renowned Datuk Nicol David then defeated Dipika Rebecca Pallikal 11-7, 11-6 and 11-3  to secure the gold. The final match lasted for only 29 minutes.
With this victory, Malaysia has won six of the seven gold medals in women’s squash since the introduction of the event into the Asian Games in 1998. 
I’m happy we’ve won back-to-back team gold medals because this is a real team effort,
commented Nicol, referring to her teammates Delia, Low Wee Wern and Vanessa Raj.
The opening match of the men’s team went down 8-11, 6-11, 11-8,  4-1 to India. It was played by Mohamad Azlan Iskandar against Sandhu Harinder Pal Singh, and lasted 58 minutes.
Malaysia men’s squash team taking selfie: Azlan Iskandar (from left), Ong Beng Hee, Mohd Nafiizwan bin Mohd Adnan and Ivan Yuen Chee Wern (Photo courtesy of The Star)
Malaysia men’s squash team taking selfie: Azlan Iskandar (from left), Ong Beng Hee, Mohd Nafiizwan bin Mohd Adnan and Ivan Yuen Chee Wern (Photo courtesy of The Star)
Ong Beng Hee played out of his skin with the hope of reversing from a game down by winning the opening set brilliantly but Saurav Ghosal manage to dip deep and win over the match in a grueling 88-minute clash by 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 12-14 and 11-9.
Saurav Ghosal (from left) and Ong Beng Hee during the men’s singles semi-finals (Photo courtesy of Malaysia Squash)
Saurav Ghosal (from left) and Ong Beng Hee during the men’s singles semi-finals (Photo courtesy of Malaysia Squash)
“We are really disappointed not to get the gold. It was so close and, at the same time, we credit India’s number three player who played very well to beat Azlan.”
“I gave everything I could today, but was a little bit unlucky not to win the fifth game. Probably, the pressure came down one me a little bit after Azlan lost. As team captain, I was really disappointed that my teammate and I did not get the gold today,” commented Ong Beng Hee who bagged his sixth medal in the Asian Games.
The men’s team retained the silver medal that they achieved back in 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, however.
It was a thrilling all-Malaysian women’s singles final when squash queen Datuk Nicol David edged Low Wee Wern 9-11, 11-6, 11-5 and 12-10 in the summit clash to claim gold. It was a neck-and-neck battle between Datuk Nicol and her compatriot Low Wee Wern—the closest of all their meetings. Nonetheless, it was the 24-year-old Wee Wern’s best-ever performance against the 31-year-old Nicol.
 Low Wee Wern (from left) and Datuk Nicol David celebrate silver and gold medals in the women’s singles. (Photo courtesy of Malaysia Squash)
Low Wee Wern (from left) and Datuk Nicol David celebrate silver and gold medals in the women’s singles. (Photo courtesy of Malaysia Squash)
“I’m really glad to have won… it was tough. Wee Wern really put everything into the match and she gave me a good fight,” said Nicol, a seven-time world champion. Datuk Nicol David rose to become not only the Malaysia’s most successful Asian Games athlete after earning her 5th gold medal in the women’s squash individual, but also as the most successful squash player in Asian Games history.
“It was unbelievable to win. I was not focused on the record, just trying to win the match,” expressed Nicol at Yeorumul Squash Courts after the first all-Malaysian Asian Games women’s squash final.
“It’s probably the best I’ve played against her,” said Wee Wern, who is now ranked fifth in the world and also the individual bronze medalist from Guangzhou four years ago.
Low Wee Wern playing against Nicol David in women’s singles final (Photo courtesy of Team Malaysia)
Low Wee Wern playing against Nicol David in women’s singles final (Photo courtesy of Team Malaysia)
 In the men’s singles, veteran Ong Beng Hee put up a tough fight before losing to Saurav Ghosal 9-11, 4-11 and 5-11 in the semi-finals. He picked up the bronze medal in the event.
Ong Beng Hee (from front) playing against Saurav Ghosal (Photo courtesy of Berita Harian)
Ong Beng Hee (from front) playing against Saurav Ghosal (Photo courtesy of Berita Harian)
Ong Beng Hee won his first gold medal in the 2002 Busan Games and again in the 2006 Doha Games, as well as bronze in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.He is the most successful Malaysian men’s squash player in the Asiad, who bagged six medals since his participation in Asiad in 2002.
The 34-year-old Ong agreed that he is at the tail end of his career, but retirement is not on his mind at least for the next three months with the World Open in Doha approaching this upcoming November.
He expressed his hope that the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) and National Sports Council (NSC) will discuss the program for the future of squash players, like Ivan Yuen and Mohamad Nafiizwan Mohd Adnan, for the development of young players.
“We both won’t be around but there are still two good young players: Ivan Yuen and Mohamad Nafiizwan. But what about their back-ups? We need another one or two good players to help Malaysia win medals.”
“I think the coaches will have a lot to think about now. They cannot rely on me and Azlan again and I might retire. SRAM might have to think about funding for the young generation to get the necessary exposure and proper coaching,” he added.
 Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin taking selca with the women’s squash players: Low Wee Wern (from left), Datuk Nicol David, Dipika Pllikal and Au Wing Chi (Photo courtesy of Sinar Harian)
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin taking a selfie with the women’s squash players: Low Wee Wern (from left), Datuk Nicol David, Dipika Pllikal and Au Wing Chi (Photo courtesy of Sinar Harian)
Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin expressed that the squash delegation has met the gold medal target set by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).
Team Malaysia has retained its title as the top nation for squash events in the Asian Games since 2002.
Way to go, squash Malaysia!

This article was written by an official member of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games bloggers, IAG Crew. Some contents might be different from official position of the Organizing Committee.
|The Official 2014 Incheon Asian Games Writer ‘IAG-Crew’ㅣThoong Kit Yee

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