PETALING JAYA: Former world No. 7 squash player Ong Beng Hee (pic) has joined the coaching exodus.
The 37-year-old, who joined the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia’s (SRAM) coaching stable in 2015 after retiring as a player, tendered his resignation last month.
He has been tapped up to be the Qatar Squash Federation’s director of coaching. Among his new responsibilities are working with Qatar’s top senior player – world No. 40 Abdulla Al Tamimi – and developing the sport at the grassroots level.
He has also been tasked with organising the Qatar Classic, which boasts a total prize money of US$150,000 (RM641,000).
SRAM president Huang Ying How confirmed yesterday that Beng Hee’s resignation has been accepted.
“We’ve agreed to let him go. For now, we do not have any replacements lined up yet,” said Ying How.
Beng Hee, who will continue with SRAM until June 30, is expected to start in his new role after the Hari Raya celebrations.
“I’m grateful that Qatar is taking a chance with someone like me who doesn’t have the paper qualifications,” said Beng Hee.
“I will start on an initial one-year contract ... this is a really huge opportunity to prove myself.”
Beng Hee has been instrumental in nurturing S. Sivasangari and Ivan Yuen for the last two years.
The 18-year-old Sivasangari won six Professional Squash Association (PSA) titles last year and reached a career high No. 47 in March.
The 26-year-old Ivan, whose game had stagnated in recent years, seemed to have regained his drive for the game and is now ranked 43rd in the world.
Beng Hee, who also coached the women’s team to a record ninth Asian Team Championships title last year, was awarded the Asian Squash Federation (ASF) Junior Coach of the Year for 2016.
So, this is another case of Malaysia’s loss, another country’s gain.
There surely is a big demand for Malaysian coaches overseas.
Singapore, who have already snapped up Allan Soyza as their director of squash, also have former national players Timothy Arnold and Choong Kam Hing in their coaching set-up.
The other Malaysians plying their trade overseas include Leong Siu Lynn (US), Valentino Bong (the Philippines), Kenny Foo (Thailand) and Lim Chee Ming (Macau).