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Tuesday April 2, 2013

Nicol skips Asian meet to prepare for British Open

Just reward: Malaysia squash queen Nicol David (third left) receiving a mock cheque worth RM100,000 from Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (third right)
during a presentation ceremony in Penang Monday. — MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI / The Star. Just reward: Malaysia squash queen Nicol David (third left) receiving a mock cheque worth RM100,000 from Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (third right) during a presentation ceremony in Penang Monday. — MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI / The Star.

PETALING JAYA: World No.1 Nicol David is giving the Asian Individual Championships a miss to prepare for her title defence at the prestigious British Open in Hull from May 18-26.

Nicol has won the Asian title a record eight times but decided to skip the tournament in Islamabad from May 1-4 due to safety concerns in Pakistan.

“I really do not want to miss the Asian meet. I thought they would move the venue to a different country,” said Nicol.

“But since there’s no news on that, I will step aside this time due to the safety concerns in Pakistan. I’ve never been there and I don’t know what to expect. Hopefully, our players will be safe during the championship and return victorious,” added Nicol, who will be 30 in August.

On her semi-final defeat to England’s Laura Massaro in the CIMB KL Open last Saturday, Nicol said the loss was not a real surprise and it was just “one of those days”.

“I always try to do the best I can but sometimes it is just not my day. It’s not that I’m losing my matches, but it’s the other girls who have stepped up and are winning theirs.

“It is definitely tough to take in a defeat like this. But at the end of the day, this is just the type of challenge which I relish. It keeps me going and motivates me to work harder in order to come back stronger.

“At the end of the day, this just means that I still have more work to do and I’m not perfect yet. It also means that I still have areas in my game in which I need to step up.”

With Nicol out of the Asian meet, Malaysia’s challenge will be led by world No. 6 Low Wee Wern. National No.3 Delia Arnold will also be taking part. Both will be gunning for their first-ever Asian individual crown.

The Malaysians’ chances have also been boosted by the absence of India’s Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa.

Hong Kong will pose the main threat with the likes of world No.10 Annie Au and world No.19 Joey Chan in the fray.

In the men’s event, Ong Beng Hee and reigning Asian champion Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan will be competing.

The main challengers will be Hong Kong’s Max Lee and Leo Au as well as the talented Abdullah Al Mezayen of Kuwait.

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