PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian men and women’s teams made it a glorious double after turning the tables on their top seeded rivals in the Asian Team Squash Championships finals at Bukit Jalil.
For the record, Malaysia have not won the double at the Asian team meet since 2008.
The women’s team, led by newly crowned Malaysian Open champion Aifa Azman, overcame defending champions Hong Kong 2-1 in the final at the National Squash Centre yesterday.
Rachel Arnold did not face any problem beating Liu Tsz Ying 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2 to hand Malaysia the first point in the women’s final.
Hong Kong kept the fight going when Tong Tsz Wing beat Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9.
However, Aifa did not give her opponent Ho Tze Lok a chance to step into the game as she brushed aside her rival 11-4, 11-3, 11-6 in just 21 minutes to seal victory for Malaysia.
The women’s team last won the title back in 2016. This is also the 10th triumph for Malaysia in the women’s team competition.
The men’s team were not to be outdone either as they conquered fancied India 2-1 in the evening.
National No. 1 Ng Eain Yow got the ball rolling by beating the newly crowned Malaysian Open champion and world No. 15 Saurav Ghosal 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 for the first point.
India remained in the hunt after Mahesh Mangaonkar beat Mohd Syafiq Kamal 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 but Ivan Yuen turned hero when he overpowered Ramit Tandon 11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 11-1.
Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia president Gerard Monteiro was overjoyed with the success of the men’s and women’s teams.
“We had been hoping Malaysia would be able to lift both the men’s and women’s team titles in our own backyard. It has been a great two weeks of squash action and we didn’t even think this would happen at the beginning of the year.
“Now we hope our players will be able to continue the momentum when they play in the Asian Individual Squash Championships in Pakistan later this month.
“It will be a great end to the year,” he said.
Malaysia bt India 2-1 (Ng Eain Yow bt Saurav Ghosal 12-10, 11-4, 11-8; Mohd Syafiq Kamal lost to Mahesh Mangaonkar 9-11, 7-11, 8-11; Ivan Yuen bt Ramit Tandon 11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 11-1).
Malaysia bt Hong Kong 2-1 (Rachel Arnold bt Liu Tsz Ling 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2; Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi lost to Tong Tsz Wing 8-11, 6-11, 11-6, 9-11; Aifa Azman bt Ho Tze Lok 11-4, 11-3, 11-6).