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Tuesday January 29, 2013
In The Sport-LightBy KNG ZHENG GUAN
PETALING JAYA: National elite squash coach Peter Genever will have some answering to face as both his top charges – Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan and Delia Arnold – flopped badly in their recent excursions in the United States.
Nafiizwan, the world No. 33, was expected to make the main draw of last week’s Tournament of Champions in New York.
Instead, the Terengganu player, who turns 27 in April, failed to get the better of Adrian Waller, an Englishman ranked No. 39, in four sets.
On Thursday, the national No. 2 was once again a flop in the Motor City Open in Detroit. He was easily beaten 12-14, 4-11, 8-11 by India’s Siddharth Suchde in the first qualifying round.
And just a week earlier, Nafiizwan had beaten world No. 48 Suchde in the first qualifying round at the Tournament of Champions.
The 27-year-old Delia, the women’s national No. 3, fared even worse.
The Kuala Lumpur-born player was completely overpowered by American teenager Amanda Sobhy in the first round of the Tournament of Champions.
Although Sobhy is ranked higher, Delia, with all her experience, should have given the 19-year-old part-time player a better fight.
Instead, she fell flat on her face.
On Thursday, Delia’s miserable start to the year continued. This time, she was beaten 11-5, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11 by yet another teenager – Egypt’s Heba El Torky – in the first qualifying round of the Greenwich Open.
With such disappointing results by both Nafiizwan and Delia, one can only ask what actually is Genever doing in the national set-up.
He doesn’t train national No. 1 Ong Beng Hee or Malaysian squash queen Nicol David as both are based overseas.
Neither does he train national No. 2 and rising star Low Wee Wern, who has made the wise decision to stay in Penang under Aaron Soyza and is now ranked No. 7 in the world.
All he’s left to train is the likes of Nafiizwan, Delia, Mohd Asyraf Azan, Ivan Yuen, Kamran Khan and a group of budding juniors.
Aaron, on the other hand, trains a world class player for a pittance of what Genever earns.
Since Genever’s arrival, most of the Bukit Jalil based national players have suffered a slide in form and rankings – most notably Kamran, who went from No. 58 last June to No. 97 this month. And all that in a matter of six months!
Now, Kamran is calling it quits and he is only 23.
Asyraf and Ivan, who were both once touted as future stars, have also not seen much improvement. Asyraf is No. 62 while Ivan is at No. 66 and both their ranking continue to slide.
Delia was ranked No. 19 before Genever arrived. Now, she is at No. 28 and set to tumble even further.
The Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) have always backed Genever. But after a year of insignificant results, perhaps it is time to reassess Genever’s position in the national team.
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