By Y.P. SIVAMsivam@thestar.com.myPhotos by GLENN GUAN
THE Squash Rackets Associationof Selangor (SRAS) is lookingforward to quick approval for itsplans to renovate the existing AstakaSquash Centre in Petaling Jaya.
SRAS president Datuk Mohamed Aini Taib said the existing squash complex, with eight courts, has become too small for major squash championships.
“It is time for SRAS to have a bigger centre. We have already submitted our proposals to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and they have verbally agreed to our plans as they also admit that the gallery, at the centre, is small and can only accommodate about 100 spectators.
“We hope the MBPJ will make a quick decision as we want to start work soon on the renovation,” said Mohamed Aini after the prize giving ceremony of the Milo All Stars International Junior squash championships.
The championships, organised by SRAS and MBPJ with support from Milo and Prince, attracted a total of 695 players from 16 countries. The championships, which featured 10 categories – boys' and girls' Under-11, boys' and girls' Under-13, boys' and girls' Under-15, boys' and girls' Under-17 and boys' and girls' Under-19 – was endorsed by the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) as the squash competition with the highest number of participants.
MBR managing director Datuk Danny Ooi said it was the first time a squash association was making it to the MBR.
“Squash players Ong Beng Hee and Nicol David are already listed in the MBR. But we are proud to announce that SRAS have also created history and we hope they will look into rewriting the current record of 695 players next year,” Ooi said after handing over the certificate to Mohamed Aini.
Mohamed Aini said they were looking into building six more courts and a centre court with a seating capacity of 500.
“In the past, accommodating the spectators for the finals had always been a concern. Currently, the tournament venue at Astaka Squash Centre can only accommodate a small number of spectators at the main court. This year's finals was an exciting affair and about 100 spectators had to watch the matches from the sidelines,” said Mohamed Aini.
In the boys' Under-19 category, Malaysia's Mohamed Asyraf Azan and Pakistan's Farzan Rashid were involved in a marathon battle stretching to about two hours. In the end, Farzan triumphed 7-9, 9-7, 9-2, 8-10, 10-8.
As expected, Malaysia's top junior, Low Wee Wern, won the girls' Under-19 title with a convincing 9-1, 9-5, 9-0 win over Australia's Melodie Francis.
Mohamed Aini said the championships had certainly provided a platform for Malaysian players to gauge their progress against their foreign counterparts.