PETALING JAYA: Teh Min Jie is quitting the national squash team to focus on her studies.
The 20-year-old Min Jie, who came through the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) programme, has struggled to make an impact on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour since turning pro two years ago.
Min Jie, who was a member of the women’s team that won a record ninth Asian Team Championships in May, has not been able to nail a single PSA title and is only ranked 72nd in the world.
This is in contrast to the achievements of 17-year-olds S. Sivasangari and Andrea Lee, who have both made their marks by winning PSA titles this year.
Sivasangari has been particularly impressive – with three titles. She is also the national No. 4 and world No. 62.
So, it’s no surprise to see Min Jie deciding to focus on her studies. She will head to Maine, the United States, to study art at the Bates College next year.
“I need a change ... failing to get results on the Tour is probably one of the reasons why I’ve decided to step away from the sport,” said Min Jie.
“I’ll still train ... I have nine more months before I head to the US. I also have a few more tournaments to compete in.”
Min Jie will be the second player to quit SRAM. In August, world No. 63 and 2013 Asian Youth Games gold medallist Vanessa Raj also called it quits to pursue her studies at the Trinity College in Connecticut, the United States.
Min Jie’s decision to quit will surely be a loss for the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM).
“Min Jie has been honest with us and she informed her coaches about her decision, which we respect,” said SRAM director of coaching Major (rtd) S. Maniam.
“She is a hardworking player and we will miss her. I wish her well and hope she continues playing squash.”
For now, Min Jie will compete in the Malaysian Tour Squash Circuit No. 4 in Penang, where she is seeded third.
She faces compatriot Noor Shadira Othman in the first round on Wednesday and the winner is likely to meet fifth seed Aika Azman in the quarter-finals.