Thursday, 27 March 2014 | MYT 8:58 PM
‘Beng Hee can win Asian Games gold’
David Pearson giving some tips to national No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan. - Photo by KNG ZHENG GUAN / The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: To have a coach of David Pearson’s pedigree is a blessing indeed for men’s national No. 1 Ong Beng Hee.
The 55-year-old Peason has coached men’s world champion Nick Matthew for most of his career, as well as the new women’s world champion Laura Massaro for the past three years.
He believes that Beng Hee is capable of delivering a gold medal for Malaysia in the Asian Games from Sept 19-Oct 4.
The 34-year-old Beng Hee, who is the longest-serving player in the national team, is the men’s main hope of defending the individual gold medal which Mohd Azlan Iskandar won in 2010.
Beng Hee who has two Asian Games gold medals from 2002 and 2006, however has been facing a dip in form of late, mostly due to the age factor.
However, Pearson believes the world No. 27 can still go out with a bang as the main challengers for gold at the Asian Games are still within his range. They are world No. 18 Saurav Ghosal of India, world No. 33 Max Lee of Hong Kong as well as national No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan.
“In a way, even an old dog can still learn new tricks and it depends on whether Beng Hee wants to go out with a sting, or just a damp squib,” said Pearson who arrived here last Thursday at Beng Hee’s request.
“The way I look at it, the other guys ... Saurav and Max are not out of Beng Hee’s range and he can still do it if he wants to.
“But, to do that he has to be more open-minded and be prepared to do better.
“Right now, I’m working a bit on the mental side with him, but it’s mostly technical.
“I’m getting him to be more aggressive especially in terms of his body language because he tends to be a little too passive at times.
“He’s got to be a bit more aware of his surroundings and be prepared to go for the shots at the right time. At the end of the day, it’s all about learning new things every day.”
Commenting on Massaro, Pearson admitted that while her squash is not the nicest to watch, she deserves credit for becoming the first Englishwoman to win the world title since Cassie Jackman in 1999.
“Laura’s put in a lot of hard work because she was never the most natural player and she has had to change a lot in her game, especially her technique,” said Pearson.
“Her squash may not be the nicest to watch but she’s whole-hearted ... works hard, and she definitely deserves this win. She should be proud of herself.”
Pearson, who has been based in Harrogate, England, for the past 23 years, will join a sharing session with the national and state-based coaches for three days starting today, before heading home on Monday.