PETALING JAYA: Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi may only be 17 and still a national junior squash player – but her performances on the court have been nothing but impressive.
Her maturity was most apparent when she entered her first-ever Professional Squash Association (PSA) final at the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) PSA 1 last week.
It was only then that she met her match in a 3-11, 7-11, 4-11 defeat to her senior Chan Yiwen.
But she immediately bounced back in style by winning the women’s singles title at the Sea Cup Squash Championship in Manila, Philippines, last week.
She then went on to help the Malaysian team bring home the mixed team title later that same week with a 3-1 win over Singapore in the final later that week.
She showed poise and composure to counter a strong fight from Singapore’s S. Sivakumar 9-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7 in the decisive winning match to clinch the gold medal for the team.
Ainaa also bagged the Under-19 title in the first-leg of the CIMB Foundation National Junior Circuit.
“I have worked really hard this year, so I can say that all of my hard work paid off and now when I enter the court, I just wanna give my best performance.
“I think my game has matured because I have been sparring with my seniors a lot, so I learned many things from them like my shot selection and how to handle the pressure on the court.”
“I’m at my best now but still improving and I want to maintain it.”
Ainaa’s next outing will be at the SRAM PSA 2 next week.
She will play her fellow Malaysian Chen Yu Ng in the first round.
Should she win the opening match, she will have a tough task against her teammate and sixth seed Aifa Azman, who earned the Asian Games team bronze medal with Nicol David, Low Wee Wern and S. Sivasangari in Indonesia last year.
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