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Thursday April 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday April 26, 2013 MYT 12:47:17 AM
KUALA LUMPUR: It’s never easy trying to balance studies and sport but that’s exactly what 16-year-old squash junior Nazihah Hanis has done.
The Form Four student of SMK Sultanah Asma in Alor Setar, Kedah, aced her Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examinations last year by scoring 8As.
Yesterday, Nazihah showed that she can play just as well with a strong performance to qualify for the main draw of the NSC Series No. 2 at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil.
Nazihah, who made the semi-finals in the Under-15 category of the British Junior Open last year, defeated South Korea’s Yura Choi 13-11, 12-10, 15-13 in the first qualifying round.
She then carried on her good form by beating fellow Kedahan S. Sivasangari – this year’s British Junior Under-15 runner-up – 11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6 – in the second qualifying round.
This is the second time that Nazihah has qualified for the main draw of a Women’s Squash Association (WSA) event, following a similar feat in another NSC Series last year.
This clearly shows that Malaysia has quality juniors within its ranks and Nazihah is all fired up to go one better this time.
“I made the main draw in one of the NSC Series last year but lost in the first round. Still, it was a valuable experience for me,” said Nazihah.
“I’m quite happy to get through again ... especially since I had to beat Sivasangari, who’s also my training partner.
“It was a tough match because we’re familiar with each other’s game and I didn’t make it easy for myself by giving up a two-set lead.
“And since I only returned to action in February after a lengthy study break, I’m glad to be doing well and I just want to enjoy my squash once more.”
Nazihah will take on P. Pushppa Devi, the tournament’s eighth seed, in the first round today.
In other matches, Aika Azman and Jadeleen Lee also made the main draw after overcoming fellow Malaysians in the qualifying finals.
The fourth qualifier spot went to Hong Kong’s Vanessa Chu, who defeated South Korea’s Yang Yeon-soo 8-11, 6-11, 11-1, 11-7, 14-12.
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