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Monday August 26, 2013 MYT 6:57:00 PM
Monday August 26, 2013 MYT 7:13:34 PM
by loganath velloo
Vanessa Raj: 'I have unfinished business in the world juniors after playing badly at this year’s tournament in Poland.'
GEORGE TOWN: Asian Youth Games double gold medallist Vanessa Raj will only decide on her squash career after sitting for her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations in November.
The 17-year-old Penangite became the first Malaysian to win a gold at the Games by winning the girls’ individual competition. She then delivered Malaysia’s winning point in the girls’ team 2-0 final victory over Hong Kong in Nanjing, China, last week.
The St George’s Girls School Penang Form Five student said she has not decided on her future yet.
“After playing inconsistently throughout the year, winning the two gold medals in Nanjing has definitely raised my hopes of becoming a top player. But I will only consider whether to pursue my dream of becoming a professional player, or concentrate fully on my studies, after my SPM exams,” said Vanessa at the Nicol David International Squash Centre in Penang Monday.
Vanessa’s older brother Bryan Raj was one of the top rising stars in the Penang squash junior ranks when he decided to give up competing after the SPM to concentrate on his studies in 2009.
However, there are two factors which could persuade Vanessa to continue in squash and not follow in her brother’s footsteps.
She has one more chance to come good at the Women’s World Junior Championships next year, and it has been her dream since an early age to become a world champion.
“I have unfinished business in the world juniors after playing badly at this year’s tournament in Poland (she lost in the third round). Next year will be my final chance to make amends as I will be overaged for the junior scene in 2015.
“If I continue my squash career, I hope to push myself right to the top and fulfil my childhood dream of lifting the world title.”
In Nanjing, Vanessa defeated Hong Kong’s Pansy Chan 11-3, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9 to win the individual gold. She beat Pansy again 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 in the women’s team final to make it 2-0 for Malaysia.
Vanessa still carries the scars of the battle in Nanjing after being whacked in the mouth by her opponent’s racquet during the team final.
“My mouth bled when Pansy’s racquet caught me in the face during the third set of the final. The pain was terrible but I just blocked it out and went on to clinch victory for Malaysia. Although I got hit last Friday, my mouth is still hurting now,” said Vanessa.
With the men’s team also emerging triumphant, squash contributed three of Malaysia’s four gold medals at the Games.
Tags / Keywords:
squash, Vanessa Raj, Pancy Chan, Bryan Raj, Asian Youth Games
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