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Thursday March 22, 2012

Teenager Sanjay itching for more action after dream debut

PETALING JAYA: Teenager Sanjay Singh Chal is enjoying his newfound status as a squash professional and is looking forward to competing in the CIMB Nicol David KL Open, from March 26-31, for the first time.

The 17-year-old Sanjay, who is one of the top junior prospects in the country, turned pro this year and made his Professional Squash Association (PSA) debut in the NSC Series No. 3 earlier this month.

It was a dream debut for the lanky Sarawakian, ranked No. 369 in the world, as he stunned world No. 113 Harinder Pal Sandhu of India in the first round.

Although his challenge ended in the quarter-finals against Englishman Michael Harris, playing as a pro has whetted Sanjay’s appetite and he is now hungry for more.

“It was a great experience and I learned a lot from those two tough matches,” said Sanjay.

“Right now, I just want to keep going because I really enjoy squash and this is the life that I want.

“Training with the elite players under Peter Genever has also widened my perspective and helped me improve a lot.

“I’m really fortunate to be given the opportunity to compete in the KL Open. I’m really excited to be playing in such a big tournament for the first time.

“I start in the qualifiers and it will be tough but there is no pressure on me. I just want to play well and savour the moment,” added Sanjay, who idolises national No. 1 Mohd Azlan Iskandar.

Sanjay is one of three local wildcard entries for the qualifying event, the others being Elvinn Keo and Choong Kam Hing. They join two other Malaysians, Kamran Khan and Mohd Asyraf Azan, in the battle for a place in the main draw.

The top seed for the men’s event is defending champion and world No. 4 Karim Darwish of Egypt while Azlan is seeded second.

Veteran Ong Beng Hee, reigning Asian champion Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan and two-time Asian junior champion Ivan Yuen are the other Malaysians in the main draw.

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