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Monday November 19, 2012

Third again at World Teams but it’s no crying shame

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia finished third yet again in the Women’s World Team squash championship but the team can take pride in their performance as their only defeat was to top seeds England.

Expectations had indeed been high that Malaysia would fare better after finishing third in the previous three editions since 2006.

After all, world No. 1 Nicol David is in her prime and national No. 2 Low Wee Wern went into the tournament as one of the form players, having won the China Open just weeks earlier.

But they failed to get past the semi-finals again, falling 2-1 to their old nemesis England.

Although Wee Wern and national No. 3 Delia Arnold both lost after Nicol had given Malaysia the lead, it was still a creditable performance by the duo.

England do have three players in the top 10 and it was really asking a lot from the Malaysian girls to pull off a major upset.

To their credit, they rebounded well in the third place playoff by beating former champions Australia 3-0.

The feeling is that it will not be long before Malaysia break that semi-final jinx.

Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director of coaching Allan Soyza said finishing third was not bad at all.

“We did want to improve on it and felt we really had a chance this year,” said Allan.

“But that didn’t happen because we were unfortunate to draw England in the semis.

“We’ll just regroup and continue to work hard for the next tournament in two years’ time.”

England, playing in their 10th successive final, were upstaged by second seeds Egypt 2-1 in Saturday’s final.

World No. 4 Alison Waters gave England the lead by beating Nour El Sherbini 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-5.

World No. 2 Raneem El Weleily, however, levelled the tie by beating third ranked Laura Massaro 3-11, 12-10, 11-4, 12-10.

Former top five player Omneya Abdel Kawy, who missed most of last year with an injury, then completed the comeback by beating Jenny Duncalf 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8 as Egypt won only their second world team title.

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