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Tuesday October 23, 2012

Timely sponsorship boost for Wee Wern

PETALING JAYA: National No. 2 squash player Low Wee Wern received a timely boost yesterday as she bids to defend her title in the China Open, which begins in Shanghai today.

The petite Penangite, who has been playing superb squash in the last two months, will be sponsored by the Nusmetro Group and Pusat Bekalan Air (PBA) Penang for two years – thus easing her sponsorship worries and allowing her to focus on her game.

The sponsorship deal is certainly good news given Wee Wern’s excellent form of late and her rise to a career high No. 9 in the world ranking is a testament of her potential.

Despite still lacking a main sponsor, Wee Wern is delighted with the deal.

“It’s great news for me and I really want like to thank Thomas Chan of Nusmetro and PBA Penang for their recognition and sponsorship for the next two years,” said Wee Wern, who also has Astro Arena and Herbalife as part of her sponsors.

“It’s not a major sponsorship deal but it’s better than none ... it will certainly aid me in my career. Right now I’m definitely pumped up for the China Open.”

The 22-year-old Wee Wern, however, won’t have it easy in Shanghai despite Nicol’s absence as she will face experienced Australian Rachael Grinham in the first round.

If she gets past Rachael, the sixth-seeded Wee Wern is likely to take on second seed Jenny Duncalf in the quarter-finals. The winner wil then come up against either fourth seed Kasey Brown of Australia or eighth seed Camille Serme of France.

But much of Wee Wern’s chances in Shanghai will also depend on whether she has fully recovered from the shoulder injury she picked up at the Malaysian Open last month.

World No. 3 Raneem El Weleily is the top seed following Nicol’s withdrawal due to visa complications.

“I have never beaten Rachael before but there’s always a first time ... hopefully this will be it,” said Wee Wern.

“I picked up the injury during the Malaysian Open but I had the physio around so it wasn’t so bad. It got worse during the Carol Weymuller and US Open and my right shoulder was quite swollen when I came back.

“I feel fine now although the pain is still there. I will compete in Shanghai with strappings to my shoulder ... I hope it won’t affect my performance too much.”

National No. 3 Delia Arnold is also competing in China. She faces Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy in the qualifiers tomorrow, with the winner earning a slot in the main draw.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Karim Darwish and New Zealand’s Joelle King won the Macau Open men’s and women’s title respectively.

Darwish beat compatriot Mohamed El Shorbagy 9-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-4, 11-9 while King defeated Omneya 11-5, 11-1, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6.

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