Beng Hee closes in on top five target


BY S. SIVABALAN

PETALING JAYA: The career ambition of gaining entry into the elite group of world squash players is finally within the reach of Ong Beng Hee. 

The Malaysian number one expects to get among the top five in the world by the end of the year. And he needs to compete in at least four tournaments to have a chance to meet the target. 

His next assignment to improve on his world rankings is the US Open, which will be played in Boston from Sept 12-16.  

But it will be a tough task on the road to fulfil his ambition. The former world junior champion is drawn to meet Aussie world No 2 David Palmer in the quarter-finals. 

“I need to reach at least the quarter-finals and semi-finals of a few big events to improve on my rankings,” said Beng Hee in a telephone interview from London yesterday (he was a quarter-finalist in the English Open last week). 

Besides the US Open, Beng Hee is also down to compete in the British Open (Sept 30-Oct 5), Canadian Open (Oct 30-Nov 3) and the World Open in Lahore (Dec 14-21). 

Beng Hee has not been able to live up to his maximum potential after reaching his highest ranking at No 7 in December 2001. 

But he slipped to 10th in April 2003 and is now two rungs up. 

“It's a simple explanation of loss in form for a short period,” said the 23-year-old Beng Hee. “Every player goes through the same pattern when competing in tournaments. I am just planning on working harder to improve myself.” 

In the English Open, Beng Hee was beaten by world number three John White of Scotland in the quarter-finals. He lost 10-15, 12-15, 14-15 in 66 minutes. 

“John played well. I did not play badly but he had the edge over me in the final stages,” said Beng Hee, who will return to Malaysia tomorrow for a two-week break before leaving for Boston for the US Open. 

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