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Friday March 29, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday April 24, 2013 MYT 2:14:17 PM
KUALA LUMPUR: It’s not easy being a professional squash player. It’s even harder if you are a mother.
But 35-year-old Natalie Grinham (pic) has managed to find a balance between being a mother and an athlete.
Grinham, a three-time runner-up at the World Open, proved that age is definitely not a factor as she pulled off a stunning win – beating world No. 2 Raneem El Weleily – in the second round of the CIMB KL Open at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
With her three-year-old son Kieran watching from the sidelines, Grinham dished out an amazing performance en route to winning 11-6, 12-14,11-8, 11-6 in 48 minutes.
It was truly dominant performance by Grinham, now of Dutch nationality, considering the fact that her opponent was one who had beaten world No. 1 Nicol David twice in the last six months.
A jubilant Grinham could hardly hide her delight at the win.
“It’s just so tough playing Raneem and I’m really happy to have beaten her. I don’t think I’ll be able to register the win for a while,” said Grinham.
“She’s just so good with the racquet, so I had to stick close with the plan to pace myself well and not feed her too many balls down the centre.
“In terms of performance, this is definitely one of my better ones in recent times.”
Grinham also explained that “having Kieran travelling with me probably helped too”.
“I just miss him so much when I’m on tour and it’s not easy being away for long periods,” she said. “When he was first born, he travelled almost everywhere with me because I was breast-feeding him.
“Last year, however, he became a little heavy for me and I had to leave him home. That’s why he didn’t come with me to Malaysian then.
“But he’s gotten a little bigger now and is a bit more understanding ... that makes it easier for him to travel with me.
“Still, it’s not easy being a mother and player at the same time because of my intense and hectic schedule. But I’m a mother first ... if it comes to a situation where I wake up and find that Kieran is not feeling well, I would skip my match.
“For now, I’m just happy he’s here with me for the first time ... although I would definitely play better if he’s asleep,” she joked.
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