PETALING JAYA: The World University Squash Championships may not be of the same standard as the World Team Championships or even the Asian Games.
Yet, national coach Ong Beng Hee expects winning the world varsity team title to serve as a motivation for the Malaysian players, especially since they had to come from behind to beat top seeds Hong Kong 2-1 for the gold medal.
It was 22-year-old Sanjay Singh Chal who delivered the winning point – beating Wong Chi Him 11-8, 4-11, 1-11, 11-9, 11-7 in the deciding tie at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.
It was Malaysia’s first-ever team gold at the world varsity meet since its inception in 1996.
“The team played very well to beat a strong Hong Kong side. It may be only a varsity meet, but it’s definitely the start of bigger things (for the team) in the future,” said Beng Hee, who also guided the Malaysian women to a record ninth Asian Team Championship in May.
“It’s always special winning a team event and we’ll be preparing the younger players for the next team meet – the 2017 SEA Games (from Aug 19-31).
“There’s still a lot of work to do, especially if we are looking at winning gold in the 2018 Asian Games because India and Hong Kong are certainly ahead of us.
“Sanjay’s performance in the team final has given us hope ... we really thought it was all over when he went 2-1 down against Chi Him after three sets.
“But he fought well and probably played his best squash of the year ... it’s winning matches like this that will boost his confidence.
“He’s shown that he can be a good player. We need to work on his physical aspect so that he win matches like this consistently.”
Sanjay, who has been struggling with a knee injury for six months, intends to climb up the ranking after falling to No. 172 in the world.
The left-hander from Miri will compete in the Otters International in Mumbai from Sept 28-Oct 2. He is the fourth seed.
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