PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s Siow Yee Xian (pic) will have to juggle between studies and collegiate squash when he pursues a degree in Connecticut’s Yale University, one of the prestigious Ivy League schools in America.
The 18-year-old from Melaka also hopes to follow in the footsteps of World No. 1 men’s squash player Ali Farag as well as America’s top woman player Amanda Sobhy, both graduates of Harvard University.
“It’s going to be tough because the expectations from Yale when it comes to education is very high, but I will try to do well in both my studies and squash, ” said Yee Xian.
“I have to thank all my coaches, Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia and the National Sports Council who have supported me since my junior days, but now that I’m moving on, I’m excited to play and compete in a new and different environment.”
Yee Xian had a creditable outing at the recent World Junior Championships at Bukit Jalil last month where he reached the quarter-finals before he met his match against eventual winner Mostafa Asal of Egypt.
The Malaysian will not be able to spend so much time on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour because of his studies but like Ali, Yee Xian hopes to make good after his studies.
Ali graduated in 2014 and rejoined the PSA Tour, culminating in him winning the men’s World Championship title in March this year.
Sobhy graduated in 2015 and is currently ranked eighth in the world.
“I still want to become a full professional one day, so for now I will continue to train hard until I finish my studies and I will see how I go from there, ” added Yee Xian.
“It’s not impossible to do well in college and graduate, and continue one’s squash career after that. Players like Ali and Sobhy have done it, so I hope to do the same too.”
At Yale, Yee Xian will be coached by a familiar face in former women’s national and Asian champion Leong Siu Lynn. She is the senior assistant to Yale head coach David Talbott.
“Although I had emailed Harvard and Princeton, Yale had the best offer financially, ” added Yee Xian.
“Also, it was Siu Lynn who came to see me during the British Junior Open and the World Juniors, and convinced me to join Yale. As she is a fellow Malaysian, the choice was much easier.”