Ong Beng Hee (front) qualified for the El Gouna International Open main draw after beating Eddie Charlton of England in qualifying on Saturday, April 12 in Egypt.
PETALING JAYA: Veteran squash player Ong Beng Hee showed that he has not lost his touch one bit as he stormed into the main draw of the El Gouna International Open in Egypt.
The 34-year-old Beng Hee, who became a father for the first time earlier this month, was at his best as he saw off the challenge of world No. 55 Eddie Charlton of England in the qualifying finals on Saturday.
Beng Hee, who has slipped to No. 34 in the world following two months of inactivity, was too strong for the 25-year-old from Leeds, winning 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 in 44 minutes.
The Penangite, who is expected to shoulder Malaysia’s challenge in the Commonwealth and Asian Games together with world No. 33 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan, will be up against world No. 24 Stephen Coppinger of South Africa in the first round of the main draw.
“Eddie is a young and hungry player and he wanted to play a fast game ... older guys like me, however, prefer to slow it down and that worked in my favour,” said Beng Hee.
“I think he got a little frustrated in the middle of the match and became a little flat mentally ... overall, I’m happy to win.
“I’m really pleased to make the main draw because two months of not playing has really affected my rankings, especially since there was no KL Open ... which was more lost points for me, so it’s a mountain to climb really.”
Beng Hee has only played against the 29-year-old Coppinger once – losing in four sets in the first round of the Tournament of Champions in New York this year.
Meanwhile, national No. 4 Ivan Yuen’s unbeaten streak this year came to an abrupt end when he crashed out in the semi-finals of the Paris Open.
World No. 71 Ivan, who has bagged three titles so far this year, went down 11-8, 12-14, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11 to world No. 79 Ben Coleman of England in 105 minutes.
The 23-year-old Coleman will meet top seed Shaun Le Roux of South Africa in the final.