The retired Mohd Azlan Iskandar makes the transition form the studio back to the squash courts in style by topping the selection trials for the Asian Games and Asian Team Championships last week. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: Veteran Mohd Azlan Iskandar will be on the plane to the Asian Team Championships (June 11-15) and Asian Games (Sept 19-Oct 4).
The 31-year-old Sarawakian, who retired from professional squash in 2012, came out tops in last week’s selection trials to earn the right to represent the country. He finished ahead of Valentino Bon Jovi Bong, Elvinn Keo, Sanjay Singh Chal and Mohd Addeen Idrakie.
Besides Azlan, the other players picked by the Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) for the two championships are Ong Beng Hee, Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan and Ivan Yuen.
The Sarawakian, who was once ranked a career-high No. 10 in the world, is the defending Asian Games individual champion. He was also a member of the team that won the Asian Team Championships in 2006 and 2008.
There was also joy for youngster Vanessa Raj. The 18-year-old was picked by SRAM ahead of Zulhijjah Azan, Rachel Arnold and Teh Min Jie.
Vanessa, who is now ranked a career-high No. 67 in the world, will join world No.1 Nicol David, world No. 8 Low Wee Wern and world No. 40 Delia Arnold in the championships.
“It was a pretty tough decision selecting the fourth woman player because all their results were so close. But we selected Vanessa based on countback of points,” explained SRAM general manager Christopher Brodie.
“As for Azlan, he won all his matches so it was pretty straightforward.”
Sarawak-born Valentino is the reserve for the men’s team while world No.79 Zulhijjah is the reserve in the women’s squad.