PETALING JAYA: It’s every budding squash player’s dream to compete in the World Junior Championships.
And 16-year-old Chan Yiwen (pic) is no different.
The only difference is that she will be paying her own way to this year’s world juniors – in Tauranga, New Zealand from July 19-29 – as she is not part of the four-player team selected by the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM).
SRAM, who are targeting a top-four finish in the girls’ team event, are banking on S. Sivasangari, Andrea Lee, Zoe Foo and Aifa Azman.
“I really want to play in the world juniors and see where I stand,” said Yiwen.
“I’ve made some progress and am playing with more confidence. I’ve also closed the gap on my seniors. I feel I’m on the right track.
“I have found a sponsor who has agreed to take care of my expenses and I will travel with the team, although I’m just competing in the individual event.
“My goal is to get through my early matches and have a go against top seed Hania (El Hammamy of Egypt).
“It’s a rare opportunity to take on a world-class player like her, but I want to see what I can do.”
World No. 107 Yiwen is seeded joint 13th-16th and has a first-round bye. She should get past South Africa’s Danielle Shone in the second round to meet either Kaityln Watts of New Zealand or Courtney Mather of Australia next.
If she clears that hurdle, she should then meet world No. 35 Hania in the fourth round.
For now, Yiwen just wants to focus on bagging the Under-17 title in the Penang Junior Open.
The Federal Territories (FT) player, who is the top seed, has qualified for the semi-finals after a hard-fought 11-5, 6-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8 win over Hong Kong’s Chan Sin Yuk at the Nicol David International Squash Centre yesterday.
“It wasn’t easy because she is a British Junior Open semi-finalist and I got my game plan wrong,” said Yiwen.
Yiwen will meet Sabah’s Jessica Keng, who beat American Ashley Manning 11-7, 11-4, 11-6, for a place in the final.