PETALING JAYA: Nazihah Hanis wanted to end her junior squash career with a title and she got her wish.
The 18-year-old emerged champion in the Under-19 category of the Oceania Junior Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, last week. She defeated Kiwi No. 1 Abbie Palmer 11-6, 11-3, 11-6 in the final.
Nazihah now hopes the win will propel her to greater heights after being pegged back in the national senior team for a year due to poor results.
“I was really desperate to win a title before my junior days ended. I’m really lucky to win in Australia,” said Nazihah.
“I will turn 19 in April and not eligible for any more junior events. I’m happy everything went my way in my last junior tournament.
“It was a really good win for me. I was suffering from a confidence crisis after completing my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exams in 2014.
“But I’ve been working with national coach Mika (Monto) and he has helped me regained my confidence.
“My next goal now is to break into the world’s top 100 and get into the 2017 SEA Games programme.
“It’s not easy since I’m juggling studies and squash at the same time. But I have some time on my hands and I hope to do well in my next tournament,” added the Kedahan.
Nazihah, who is now ranked a career-high No. 128 in the world, will only return to action in the first leg of the Malaysian Tour Squash Circuit in Malacca in March.
Malaysia also won four other titles in Gold Coast.
Mohd Harris Ramlee (boys’ Under-15), Lai Wen Li (girls’ Under-17), Jessica Keng (girls’ Under-15) and Yee Xin Ying (girls’ Under-13) were the other winners.