MAKES A RETURN
Former world champ to add lustre to National Championships
DEVINDER SINGH 21-26 comes as a major boost for the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM).
While acknowledging that Nicol faces few obstacles in her bid for a fourth national title, SRAM president Huang Ying How said the presence of the former World No 1 will serve as an inspiration to the national backup and junior players.
“This is an opportunity for the rest of our players to play Nicol and others like Nafiizwan Adnan in a competitive setting,” said Ying How during the event announcement in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“While we don’t expect there to be an upset, the current crop of players like Rachel Arnold, S. Sivasangari and Andrea Lee will greatly benefit from playing against Nicol.
“But I’m sure Nicol will not find it easy either as the matches will be very competitive.”
With the exception of Nicol, no other player in the women’s Premier Division has ever reached the final, giving those in the opposite half of the draw from Nicol a great incentive to get to the final.
The men’s Premier Division is expected to see all of the country’s top players, led by Nafiizwan and Ivan Yuen, doing battle.
Nafiizwan will be bidding for a third straight national title at the Jalan Duta squash courts while Ivan has twice lost in the final — in 2014 and 2016.
“The National Championships have a long history and predate the formation of SRAM,” said Ying How. “It is arguably the most important and prestigious tournament run by SRAM.
“It is where all the local talent is showcased in one centre and allows us to grow squash at all levels. It is key to giving upcoming players exposure and the opportunity to play against their seniors.
“The National Championships have been an engine in driving the development of our top players.”
Besides the premier events, the National Championships also feature Division One for men and women, Division Two and the Over-35, Over-40, Over-50 and Over-60 categories for men.