KUALA LUMPUR: The Covid-19 outbreak has been a bane for athletes everywhere, throwing the sports calendar into chaos. However, the postponement of the squash Asian Junior Championships could turn out to be a blessing, at least for Danial Nurhaqiem Sharul Nizam.
The Asian meet had been scheduled for June 29-July 3 in Qingdao, China, but has been called off due to the continued spread of the disease in the country.
While other players would have been bemoaning the postponement of the event, Danial is instead seeing a silver lining in the dark clouds.
“This was supposed to be my last Asian Juniors as I will be moving on to senior level next year but it has been postponed. While this is unfortunate, I actually feel it might be beneficial as we (junior players) can now focus fully on the Malaysia Games (Sukma) from July 11-19 and the World Juniors (July 19-30). There will be more time to prepare for these two tournaments, ” explained Danial.
The 18-year-old is even more determined to do well in both the Sukma in Johor and the World Juniors in Gold Coast, Australia.
“There will be individual and team events in the World Juniors. I want to help the team reach the semi-finals and bring back a medal while in the individual meet, I am targeting a place in the quarter-finals. In Sukma, my aim is to reach the semi-final, ” said the determined Danial.
The Kuala Terengganu-born lad though admitted that he needed to up his game to achieve his targets, especially in the World Juniors.
“The standards are much higher now compared to two or three years ago. So it’s good that I have a few months to work on my game, ” he said.
Meanwhile, the Asian Team Championships that was supposed to take place from March 25-29 in Bukit Jalil has also been called off.
According to Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director Major (Rtd) S. Maniam the new date has not been decided yet.
Players like Mohd Syafiq Kamal and Addeen Idrakie were disappointed at the news as they had been eager to take part in the home tournament for which they had been training hard.
“We did not prepare for any Professional Squash Association (PSA) tournaments during this period and were focusing fully on the Asian team meet for more than a month. Suddenly, it gets postponed, ” lamented Addeen.
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