Ajaz re­news SRAM ties

New Straits Times - - Sport -

FOR­MER na­tional men’s back-up squad coach Ajaz Az­mat re­turns to the Squash Rac­quets As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysia (SRAM) next month to fill a va­cancy in the na­tional coach­ing set up.

Ajaz served SRAM for six years be­fore leav­ing at the end of 2010 when his con­tract ex­pired, hav­ing helped de­velop the likes of Nafi­izwan Ad­nan and Ivan Yuen, the coun­try’s top two play­ers presently.

His re­turn plugs a hole i n SRAM’s coach­ing line up fol­low­ing Ray­mond Arnold’s de­par­ture at the end of last year though Ajaz’s ex­act du­ties are yet to be de­fined.

“Ajaz will start work in April and he will likely han­dle some of the elite play­ers though we still have to dis­cuss what he has to do,” said SRAM di­rec­tor of coach­ing Mej (rtd) S. Ma­niam, adding that Ajaz’s ap­point­ment has been ap­proved by the Na­tional Sports Coun­cil.

Ajaz, who is ex­pected to be handed a one-year con­tract with an op­tion to ex­tend for an­other year, joins na­tional chief coach Peter Gen­ever, Ong Beng Hee, An­drew Cross and Mika Monto in the coach­ing sta­ble.

Mean­while, na­tional No 1 Nafi­izwan ad­vanced to the semi-fi­nals of a PSA Tour event for the first time since May last year af­ter de­feat­ing In­dia’s Vikram Mal­ho­tra in the Wim­ble­don Club Open quar­ter-fi­nals on Wed­nes­day.

Sec­ond seed Nafi­izwan’s 12-10, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8 win over the In­dian qual­i­fier puts him into a last-four meet­ing with third seed Tom Richards of Eng­land.

Nafi­izwan, who opened his cam­paign with an 11-6, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9 win over Egypt’s Youssef Soli­man, has not reached a semi­fi­nal since win­ning the HKFC In­ter­na­tional ti­tle.

Eight-seeded Ivan, how­ever, was ousted in the first round af­ter an 11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 10-12, 11-7 de­feat to In­dian qual­i­fier Ma­hesh Man­gaonkar.

World ju­nior cham­pion Ng Eain Yow did not make it past the first qual­i­fy­ing round af­ter be­ing beaten by Eng­land’s Jaymie Hay­cocks 11-8, 11-7, 11-8.

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