Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (left) and Ong Beng Hee will be competing in the Tournament of Champions squash championships in New York from Jan 17-24.
PETALING JAYA: National No.1 Ong Beng Hee may have lost some of his prowess but he believes luck is still on his side as he prepares for the Tournament of Champions (TOC) squash championships in New York from Jan 17-24.
Beng Hee, who will turn 34 on Feb 4, is aiming for one last hurrah before he eventually calls it a day.
Although the Penangite is not getting any younger, he is still miles ahead of the other players in the national set-up.
With the Commonwealth and Asian Games to be held this year, Beng Hee, whose wife Winnie is due to give birth in March, is looking for the best possible start to the season.
Beng Hee is quite pleased with the draw although he faces a tough first-round opponent in South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger. The winner will go on to meet world champion Nick Matthew of England in the second round,
“It’s definitely going to be very tough ... going up against Steve in the opening round,” said Beng Hee, who is already in New York.
“But I think it’s actually a good draw. I have not been winning too often lately and any draw that doesn’t pit me against the world’s top four is a good draw. I definitely have a chance ... as this is probably going to be my last year and I have no choice but to win.
“I even left for New York early just to adapt to the freezing cold.
“The only problem now is money because the longer I stay the more I need to spend and it is very costly here,” he added.
After the TOC, Beng Hee will proceed to the Motor City Open in Detroit from Jan 23-28.
“This is a big year for squash with so many major tournaments and the schedule from April is very hectic,” said Beng Hee.
“For someone my age, I need to prepare myself better ... physically and mentally which is why I’ll be going back home after Detroit.”
Besides Beng Hee, national No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan will also be in the fray. He will compete in the qualifiers.
In the women’s event, both world No. 1 Nicol David and world No. 6 Low Wee Wern will make their debuts at the TOC.
Nicol will face a qualifier in the first round while Wee Wern will meet American Latasha Khan.