Rachel Arnold (front) in a file photo. She will be playing against former national player P. Pushppa Devi in the first round of the third leg of the Malaysian Tour squash circuit (SSJM).
PETALING JAYA: Promising youngster Rachel Arnold has but one wish after turning 18 – to make headway in her squash career.
Rachel, the younger sister of national No. 3 Delia, celebrated her 18th birthday on Wednesday.
The world No. 78 is set to battle it out with world No. 75 Zulhijjah Azan, world No. 77 Vanessa Raj and world No. 107 Teh Min Jie for a spot in the Asian Team Championship, Commonwealth and Asian Games and the Women’s World Team Championship in the selection trials later this month.
Rachel, who trains under Andrew Cross, is hoping for a good confidence boost when she takes to the court in the first round of the third leg of the Malaysian Tour squash circuit (SSJM) in Seremban on Friday.
“I think my birthday wish is to do really well in my career,” said Rachel, who made the decision to go full-time into the sport earlier this year.
“I’ve been training hard since the world championships last month ... it’s all geared towards the trials at the end of this month.
“I guess my draw in the SSJM is pretty decent and I have a good chance of doing well.
“The goal is definitely to get to the semi-finals at least, because it’ll be a good confidence boost ahead of the trials,” added Rachel.
The KL teen will meet former national player P. Pushppa Devi in the first round and a win will pit her against either fifth seed Lotte Eriksen of Norway or national junior Zoe Foo in the quarter-finals.
Besides Rachel, the trio of Zulhijjah, Min Jie and Vanessa will also be out to make an impact in the tournament.
Zulhijjah is seeded second and has the easiest task of all as she faces a qualifier in the first round.
Both Vanessa and Min Jie will have a tougher time as they face sixth seed Kim Ga-hye of South Korea and eighth seed Jessica Turnbull of Australia respectively.