PETALING JAYA: Once promising squash player Choong Kam Hing is running out of time to make his mark.
The 23-year-old Kam Hing, of Ipoh, started playing squash at the age of 10.
At 12, he took part in his first Sukma (Malaysia Games) before joining up with the national juniors at the Bukit Jalil Sports School.
He turned pro after completing high school and was once seen as the next generation of squash players to follow in the footsteps of veterans Mohd Azlan Iskandar and Ong Beng Hee.
Kam Hing continued to show promise after turning pro and even has one Professional Squash Association (PSA) title – the NSC Series No. 1 in 2010 – to his name.
However, a run of injuries and poor results last year has seen his game go on a downward slide.
Kam Hing, ranked 127th in the world, has been given until June to break into the top 100 or be dropped from the national squad.
The Ipoh lad, who is struggling to regain full fitness following an ankle injury, is seriously pondering his future.
“It has been a tough and dark year for me. Despite training hard, I’m not really getting the results and it’s quite disappointing and demoralising,” said Kam Hing.
“The injuries have also hampered my progress although I’m nearing full fitness. Breaking into the top 100 will be quite tough because I’m actually really low on the rankings right now, but I will give it my best shot.
“I’m aware that I might be dropped if I do not make it and I’m actually considering taking up a coaching course as fall-back plan in case my playing career ends early.”
The lanky left-hander has only played in one tournament this year – the NSC Series No. 2 in January.
However, Kam Hing suffered a first round exit at the hands of unknown qualifier Aamir Khan of the United Arab Emirates.
But Kam Hing has a chance to bounce back when he competes in the KL Open from March 26-31.
Besides Kam Hing, another player staring at the axe is 2007 SEA Games champion Elvinn Keo, who is the world No.104.
Elvinn, who has also suffered from serious injuries over the past year, is now on the comeback trail and should meet the target of breaking into the top 100.
“Elvinn is in a better situation and should do fine but I fear for Kam Hing because his performances have really dropped. He needs to put in more work with the coaches,” said Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) secretary and general manager Christopher Brodie.