Beng Hee picks Leeds as his new training base

  • Other Sport
  • Thursday, 15 Apr 2004

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian number one squash player Ong Beng Hee’s move from the Chingford Training Centre in London to the Reading Sports Club is off. Instead, he has decided to move his training base to Leeds Sports Clubs after the PSA Masters in Qatar from April 20-24. 

Beng Hee decided to move because his game had not improved under Neil Harvey at Chingford since December 1997.  

The Penangite had wanted to move to Reading but a lack of high quality sparring partners was the reason he decided against going there.  

Beng Hee decided on Leeds because he will get to spar with English players like Lee Beachill (world number four), Nick Mathew (No. 10) and James Willstrop (No.13). 

Beng Hee has not been training under Harvey since August last year. Instead, he has been training part-time under Mike Johnson in Reading for the past eight months. 

“I should have moved out of London three years ago. I learned little since then under Neil,” said Beng Hee in a telephone interview from London.  

“But I could not move out three years ago because I was in the top 10 in the world for the first time in my career. I was very young. I couldn't just move out,” said the 24-year-old Beng Hee.  

The former world junior champion was ranked ninth in the world in May 2001 and reached his highest rank – seventh – in December 2001.  

But he has not been able to make much headway in the last two years.  

“The change has become necessary,” said Beng Hee, who dropped out of the top 10 in January. 

Beng Hee, who is now ranked 14th in the world is now revamping his entire game and has been training under Johnson.  

However, the Malaysian has been struggling with his new style, making early exits in four major tournaments last year.  

He lost in the first round of the US Open in September and British Open in October. Beng Hee was shown the exit in the second round of the Canadian Open in November and the World Open in December.  

This year, he lost in the first round of the Kuwait Open in January and the Bermuda Open last month. He also lost in the second round of the Tournament of Champions in February.  

His only saving grace was a quarter-final appearance in the Swedish Open in February.  

But he began to get the hang of his new game in the Canary Wharf Invitational late last month, defeating Mathew and world number two Thierry Lincou of France in the tournament.  

“It's been a tough eight months. I had to start from scratch once again. There has been so much pressure on me because the emphasis has always been on results rather than on performance.  

“But I know I have been improving. I don't want to be seventh in the world for the rest of my life. I want to be the best.  

“I am going into the PSA Masters with a better frame of mind after the good result in the Canary Wharf Invitational. I'll give it my best to get results in Qatar,” said Beng Hee 

The PSA Masters will feature the top 32 ranked players in the world.  

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