Ong Beng Hee (right) and Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan will take part in the HKFC International squash championship starting on Wednesday. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: Veteran national No. 1 squash player Ong Beng Hee is bracing himself for a hectic second half of the year – for the first time in his long career.
Barely a week after competing in the British Open, the 34-year-old Beng Hee will take part in the HKFC International, beginning Wednesday, and the Asian Team Championship from June 11-15. Both tournaments are in Hong Kong.
That will be followed almost immediately by a tri-nation doubles test series from June 17-19 featuring Malaysia, India and New Zealand before the Commonwealth Games start from July 23-Aug 3.
But world No. 34 Beng Hee believes that he is physically and mentally prepared for the hectic schedule as “there’s nothing to distract me anymore”.
“The baby has been born, so there is no more distractions for me ... I’m getting back some of my old form,” said Beng Hee, whose wife Winnie gave birth to a baby girl – Janelle – in April.
“This is probably the first time in my career that I’ll be playing in so many tournaments in a short time ... my biggest concern is about not getting injured.
“In a way, I’m quite glad that I took most of February and March off from squash because I’m feeling a lot fresher than I would have been.
“I think what’s most important now for me is to maintain a good balance – play well and not drop too far down the rankings.
“Rankings right now are just numbers because, like the British Open last week, even seeded players can lose as early as in the first round. I just need to make sure that I’m at least still in the top three by the time the Asian Games (Sept 19-Oct 4) start.”
Beng Hee, who is seeded third for the HKFC meet, is hoping for a good run to boost his confidence.
“It doesn’t matter who I play ... both Alister Walker (top seed) and Adrian Grant (second seed) are tough players. I just want to live up to my seedings, at least,” said Beng Hee who will take on a qualifier in the first round.
A win will probably pit him against seventh seed Henrik Mustonen of Finland in the quarter-finals, with world No. 21 Walker of Botswana a potential semi-final opponent.
National No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan and world No. 70 Ivan Yuen are also competing in HKFC International.