Sharon takes over at the top

  • Other Sport
  • Friday, 23 May 2003

PETALING JAYA: Sharon Wee is now the national number one woman squash player. And she hopes her win in the Hyder Open in New York on Sunday is an indicator that she is emerging from under Nicol David's shadow. 

The 25-year-old Sharon will be out to produce good results in two more tournaments in Egypt to improve on her world rankings before she returns home next month. 

She is down to compete in the Heliopolis Open in Cairo (May 30-June 2) and the Hurghada International in (June 4-8). 

SHARON WEE: Has won in New York and qualified for a semi-final in Salt Lake City.

Sharon and the former national number one Nicol are currently in training at the Elite Squash Academy in Amsterdam. The academy is run by Australia's former world number two Liz Living. 

Since making Amsterdam her training base in March, Sharon has taken part in five tournaments. 

Her best effort was in winning the Hyder Open in New York last Sunday and a semi-final finish  

“I am doing well in the international circuit and I am now the highest-ranked Malaysia,” said Sharon, who was the semi-finalist in the US Squashworks tournament in Salt Lake City. 

In the world rankings released on May 1, Sharon dropped a rung to 23rd. 

“I had been in the shadows of some of the top players in Malaysia. But I have improved and I know I have worked hard to get out of their shadows,” she said. 

“I am feeling much more confident now. I felt on top of the world with the win last week. I want to shout really loud to all Malaysians that I can be the best too.” 

Sharon attributed her success in the Hyder Open to the training stint in Amsterdam. 

“Amsterdam is my choice because there are many professional woman players here, among them Dutch players Vanessa Atkinson (world number six), Annelize Naude (21st) and Karen Kronemeyer (52nd) and Australian Natalie Grinham (eighth),” she said. 

“Training and sparring with them has certainly brought my game to a higher level. I will also be competing in the Dutch and German Leagues to further improve myself. 

“Liz is a good coach and she is trying to improve my technique and my game strategies. She has also advised me to be confident on court. The training centre is nice too.” 

Sharon felt she was on the right track to break into the top 20 in the world by end of this year. But she is aware that it would take a lot of sacrifices to achieve her dream. 

“I will leave Amsterdam for Egypt on Sunday. It's travelling again but I am not complaining,” she said. 

“I do miss home but to become a better player, I have to travel to play in many tournaments. It can be hard sometimes. But I need to stretch myself to the limit. 

“I am very grateful to the SRAM (Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia) and the NSC (National Sports Council) for funding me. I hope they will continue to support me. My family have been great supporters too. I want to make all of them proud of me.” 

On Nicol, Sharon said, “She is fine here too and she is also training very hard.” 

Two-time world junior champion Nicol is now ranked 44th in the world. Her best effort in international tournament since making a comeback this year was a place in the semi-finals of the US Squashworks. 

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