KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's number one men squash player Ong Beng Hee's target was to break into the top five bracket in the world this year. But things are not happening the way he wanted.
Instead, Beng Hee, the Asian Games gold medallist, has dropped another rung to 10th this month. And it does not augur well for the Subang Jaya lad who has signed a whopping RM1mil three-year sponsorship deal with the Dunlop Slazenger last December.
He needs to improve his ranking if he hopes to get one third of the sponsorship this year. Otherwise he will only get a small portion of the sponsorship.
Beng Hee, who is based in London, had a disappointing outing in the first three months of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) circuit.
The 23-year-old Beng Hee failed to defend his Swedish Open title in February after crashing out in the first round to world No. 30 Rodney Durbach of South Africa.
He also failed to do well in the Tournament of Champions in New York in late February. He lost in the second round to world number eight Lee Beachill of England.
Beng Hee won the Bermuda Open last month but it was not a PSA sanction tournament and it did not help him in improving his rankings.
Beng Hee, who has been training under renowned coach Neil Harvey in London for the last three years, said one of the reasons why he failed to do well in the PSA tournaments was because he was trying too hard to win matches.
“When you try too hard you make mistakes and lose matches.
“I must relax and play my normal game to get back my confidence before I can think of improving my ranking.
“However, I am not too worried about my performance as I know that I can bounce back to win matches and improve my ranking,'' said Beng Hee, who returned to Malaysia last week to train here.
He added that he decided to come home to relax and be with his parents.
“I was supposed to compete in the Qatar Open, which is one of the major PSA tournaments this month but the meet has been postponed to next month because of the war in Iraq.
“I will train here for a month and the change of training environment might help me get myself together,'' said Beng Hee.
He is training under coach Jamshed Gul and spars with Mike Coreen, who is a sparring coach with the national elite team.
Another national player Mohamed Azlan Iskandar, who is based in London under coach Harvey, still remained at 42 in the world.
The lanky Sarawak player, who won his first PSA tournament after bagging the Kuala Lumpur Open in February, aims to break into the top-30 bracket by this year.
Meanwhile, Sharon Wee, who won a bronze medal in the Busan Asian Games last year, has moved up one rung to 22nd this month.
Nicol David, who made a comeback to play in the WISPA circuit last month after a five-month break, has not improve on her world ranking. She is still ranked 31st in the world.