PETALING JAYA: S. Sivasangari could not ask for a better end to her junior squash career.
The national No. 2 has already done well on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour, winning nine titles and is ranked a career high No. 45 in the world.
But she has always fallen short in the biggest junior events. That’s why the Kedahan is pleased as punch after bagging the coveted Under-19 title at the British Junior Open.
Sivasangari, who defeated Japan’s Satomi Watanabe 12-10, 11-7, 11-9 in the final on Sunday, also ended Malaysia’s nine-year drought – since Low Wee Wern in 2009 – in that age group.
Her win also ensured Malaysia achieved a historic best-ever finish with four titles – the other winners being Aifa Azman (Under-17), Aira Azman (Under-15) and K. Sehveetrraa (Under-13).
“I am really happy to win this year’s British Juniors. I’ve only ever won it once ... the Under-15 title back in 2014,” said Sivasangari after arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) yesterday.
“Winning this title has really given me a boost especially now that I look to step up into the senior ranks on a full time basis.
“I have done well winning a few PSA titles but this win really takes my confidence a level up.
“I definitely hope to continue this fine run when I head to the United States next month for three tournaments.
“It’s also a big year for me with the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (in April). I’m not sure which events I will be competing in but I look to gain experience against the biggest names.”
Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director Mejar (Rtd) S. Maniam, who was at KLIA to greet the players, believed the achievement at the British Juniors have raised the bar for the future.
“To start the year with a result like this is very pleasing and I am very excited about it.
“It’s great that we have players coming through from the state programmes. In fact all four winners are from Kedah.
“It certainly shows that there is progress in the states development programme.
“It does set the bar very high for us in the future but we are not going to rest on our laurels.
“The plan is to keep pushing the state programmes because we want to see other states producing players of this quality too,” said Maniam.