SRAM Confident M'sia Will Have New Squash Icon By 2022 Commonwealth Games

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GOLD COAST, April 16 (Bernama) -- The Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) is confident the country will have a new squash icon by the time the 2022 Commonwealth Games is held in Birmingham, England.

SRAM president Huang Ying How said based on the squad's performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, emerging talents such as Rachel Arnold, S.Sivasangari, Aifa Azman and Aira Azman would be able to replace Nicol David someday.

"Their achievement in Gold Coast is very good and I am very satisfied with the squash squad's performance. Our young players have managed to beat higher ranking players although they didn't get any medal," he said.

Huang, who is also Chef-de-Mission to the 2018 Commonwealth Games said SRAM's plan to form a new young squad had proved positive when some of them gave more experienced opponents a run for their money.

For example, women's doubles pair Rachel-Sangari beat world champions Joelle King-Amanda Landers Murphy from New Zealand in the group stage of the event to advance to quarter-finals, before losing to Laura Massaro-Sarah Jane Perry of England.

"I was secretly hoping that Rachel-Sivasangari would create an upset and get the bronze medal. I believed they could do it because they had proven it in the earlier matches, and in the game against Massaro-Perry they only narrowly lost.

"Not only them, even Aifa was quite good. They are all young, but are already able to compete at this level. Like Aifa, she won at least one set against Tesni Evans (Wales) who had beaten Nicol. That's already very good for a young player," he said.

Huang said he believed the country's squash players were well-positioned to achieve success at the world-stage, just like the country's squash queen, Nicol David.

Commenting on the achievement of national men's singles player Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan, who won the first bronze medal in history for the men's event, Huang said the victory proved the Podium Programme had had a huge impact on the player.

He said Nafiizwan, who won against world number one Nick Matthew, had proven he could achieve success if he followed the game plan.

"Nafiizwan played based on the analysis and game plan. It is not easy for them to follow the game plan, but it was worth it. My message to young players like Mohd Syafiq Kamal and Ng Eain Yow is that they need to follow the analysis we have made," he said.