PETALING JAYA: Behind every successful athlete, there is always a passionate coach.
National junior squash player Chan Yiwen was quick to show her gratitude to her coach Andrew Cross after winning her first Asian Junior Championship title in Chennai, India, last Saturday.
Yiwen won it in style as she did not drop a single game throughout the whole tournament.
She was a class above the rest as she thrashed her opponents en route the finals.
Yiwen started by beating Sri Lanka’s Hettiachchi K. M. Gunawardane 11-3, 11-5, 11-1 in the second round.
In the quarter-finals, she made it look easy to go past South Korea’s Song Chae-won 11-5, 11-1, 11-2 before dismissing Cheng Nga Ching of Hong Kong 11-3, 11-4, 11-4.
Her Sabahan teammate Lai Wen Li put up a close battle but Yiwen prevailed 12-10, 12-10, 11-2.
“I was 9-2 down in the first game then I made a comeback, and the same thing happened in the second game as well,” said Yiwen.
“I calmed myself down and tried my best to win the points one by one.
“And in the third game, I lifted my pace to keep putting pressure on her.”
It was a coveted title for the 18-year-old, who was eager to add it to her collection next to the National Junior and CIMB Grand Final titles.
“I’m really happy to win my first ever Asian Junior title.
“It feels good to be able to cross out another achievement off my bucket list.”
She credited coach Cross, who has specially catered to her schedule and timing as a student.
“I cannot forget Andrew Cross, I’m really grateful to have him as my coach who always understands and supports me as he knows it’s not easy to be a student-athlete,” she said.
“He always makes adjustments to my training schedule as I can’t attend to group sessions due to classes, so he comes early or stays late to ensure I have at least a session with him.”