Sport

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Rachel feels the burden after sister’s retirement

PETALING JAYA: Rachel Arnold (pic) knows she has big shoes to fill.

Since the retirement of her older sister Delia in January, the national women’s squash team have been severely weakened.

With former world No. 5 Low Wee Wern recuperating from a knee surgery, world No. 6 Nicol David is the only active senior player in the squad.

Rachel, who turned 21 on Sunday, is hoping to rise to the occasion at the Asian Individual Champion-ships in Chennai, India from April 26-30.

“I’ve definitely got big shoes to fill. Since Delia’s retirement, there’s been a bit of pressure on us to step up,” said Rachel.

“It is my goal to outdo Delia too. She had a career best ranking of No. 12 in the world and I aim to beat that one day.

“Currently I’m at No. 57 but I’ve made some improvements and I’m hoping to break into the top 40 by end of the year.”

For now, Rachel is focused on a strong showing in her Asian meet debut.

The 2015 SEA Games gold medallist is extra fired up following a rather disappointing run on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour over the last month.

She was knocked out in the early rounds of the Texas Open, the Squash Week Open in Calgary (Canada) and the World Championship in Egypt.

To add insult to injury, she was beaten twice by Australia’s Rachael Grinham, who is 20 years older.

“It’s so frustrating and annoying to lose to someone so much older than me especially during the world meet in Egpyt when I was 10-6 up in the third set and I blew it,” said Rachel.

“But it was a good learning curve and I believe those three tournaments have better prepared me for the Asians.

“I’ve got a pretty good draw and I’m aiming to reach the last eight first,” added Rachel.

Rachel, who is seeded eighth, is drawn to meet South Korea’s Park Eu-nok in the opening round.

The other Malaysian women in the competition are Andrea Lee, Zoe Foo and 15-year-old Aifa Azman.

The men are represented by Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan, Ivan Yuen, Ng Eain Yow and Mohd Addeen Idrakie.

The team will depart for Chennai on Sunday.

Tags / Keywords: squash , Asian Individual Championships , Rachel Arnold

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