PETALING JAYA: To go where the world’s best are based at is an opportunity not to be missed for Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold.
Rachel and compatriot Aifa Azman have received the green light to compete in the El Gouna International in Cairo, Egypt, from May 20-28 as they wait for two other Malaysians Low Wee Wern and Ivan Yuen to join them.
Wee Wern and Ivan are waiting patiently for the Malaysian government to give them the go ahead as their travel permits have yet to be approved.
Rachel said it would be great to compete in a tournament, where Egypt’s world No. 1 Nour El Sherbini will be the star attraction.
The other three seeded players in the tournament are Nouran Gohar of Egypt, Camille Serme of France and Amanda Sobhy of the United States.
“I’m just going to go all out in this meet. This is the first time that I’m playing in a big tournament (platinum) after a long time, all the top players will be there, ” said Rachel.
“The last time I played with some of the top players, I was close to winning. So, hopefully, it goes well this time around.
“I’ve been vaccinated and I’m just waiting to get a negative PCR test before I leave (this weekend).”
The other Malaysian waiting for approval to join Rachel, Aifa and Wee Wern is S. Sivasangari, who will join them from the US, where she is based.
Rachel will take on Zeina Mickawy of Egypt in the opening round. The opponents for others in the first round are Aifa vs Hollie Naughton (Can); Wee Wern vs Mayar Hany (Egy); Sivasangari vs Sana Ibrahim (Egy).
In the men’s category, world No.1 Ali Farag will not defend his title due to family commitments, which leaves his countryman Mohamed El Shorbagy to top the 48-player draw as he looks to win the title for the first time since 2016.