PETALING JAYA: Low Wee Wern (pic) has done what no other squash player, for that matter any other Malaysian athlete, had done in their career – make a comeback after four surgeries and still play in four tournaments in as many weeks.
Once touted as the next Nicol David, Penangite Wee Wern followed her idol’s footsteps and reached world No. 5 in 2015 when disaster struck as the dreaded anterior cruciate ligament injury (on her left knee) struck a killer blow.
The injury to her right knee and four surgeries, the last done 14 months ago, were a grim reminder that Wee Wern’s professional career may have come to an end.
However, Wee Wern’s determination knows no bounds and with the help of the medical team, physiotherapists, her coach Aaron Soyza and her ever supportive fans and friends, the 32-year-old returned to competitions at the Singapore Open three weeks ago.
Playing world No. 21 Nadine Shahin in the first round, the 444th-ranked Wee Wern surprised the Egyptian to take the first game before eventually losing in four (12-10, 8-11, 11-13, 7-11).
“No matter how many injuries or years (away from competition), you cannot take away this talent or skills,” Shahin had praised Wee Wern.
“She has always had those skills and showed great athleticism – you wouldn’t (even) know that she was (actually) injured.”
However, people closely attached to Wee Wern know the pain she had gone through and it was practically for those, the Malaysian said she had been fighting for.
She continued to play in the home event, the Malaysian Open where she lost to compatriot Chan Yiwen (4-11, 9-11, 4-11) in the first round before her third exit in the Hong Kong Open on Tuesday to local player Tong Tsz Wing (9-11, 9-11, 7-11) to end a run of three consecutive tournaments without worrying about her battered knees.
“Squash is a tough sport, especially when the body isn’t quite there yet. I’m grateful to be able to step back on court, against all odds. If we don’t try, we wouldn’t know,” said Wee Wern after her exit from the Hong Kong Open this week.
“Barely a year ago, I could barely walk and it feels so good to be back on court again. And this time, I want to do this for my coach Aaron and all the people who stood by me and believed I could do this again.
“Time to head home, recover and move forward. Thank you for the encouragement everyone!”
Wee Wern’s efforts, despite not being able to win a match on her comeback, has helped her ranking to rise to No. 121.
The most important thing is that her knees have withstood the burden and the Malaysian fans should see her back in action on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) world tour soon.