PETALING JAYA: National squash player Aifa Azman (pic) believes that nothing beats learning hands-on.
And that’s why the 20-year-old Kedahan is looking forward to travelling for overseas competitions on her own.
She begins her new year with a trip to the United States to compete in the Cleveland Classic on Jan 27 and will take part in five more tournaments until March.
“This year, I want to learn how the other professional squash players travel, train and compete at a higher level. I’ve been travelling with the coaches and team previously because I was still in the junior category. Now I need to learn how to do it myself and this year will be the time to learn that,” said Aifa.
“So now I’m currently waiting for the following six events in the US from January to March.
“I want to do well in those tournaments. This year will be my first year playing in the big events as I’m ranked 35th in the world, so I can enter any tournaments now.
“I want to gain as much experience as possible.”
Aifa has done well last year by winning several SRAM PSA tournaments and the highlight was winning the Malaysian Open last month.
Aifa also helped Malaysia win the Asian Team Championships, which was held in Kuala Lumpur early last month.
Her shock win in the Malaysian Open saw her move up the rankings from 69th to 36th and also earned her the PSA Player-of-the-Month award for November.
Now 35th in the world, Aifa has loftier ambitions.
“I want a new highest world ranking before 2022 ends. Not to forget, I have the Asian and Commonwealth Games as well this year,” she said.
“Winning these two tournaments would be massive for me.”