ANKLE SPRAIN HAMPERS RACHEL
But Sea Games defending champ determined to retain title
DEVINDER SINGH email@example.com
AMILD ankle sprain forced Sea Games defending champion Rachel Arnold out of the quarter-finals at the World Doubles Championships in Manchester on Thursday.
But the injury is not expected to prevent Rachel from attempting to retain the women’s singles gold medal at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games later this month.
The nature of World No 52 Rachel’s injury was confirmed by Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director of coaching Mej (rtd) S. Maniam, who is in Manchester with the team.
Having withdrawn from the last group stage match in the mixed doubles earlier in the day, Rachel and Nicol David also conceded a walkover to England’s Alison Waters and Jenny Duncalf in the women’s doubles.
That ended Rachel’s hopes of retaining the women’s doubles bronze medal she won with her sister Delia last year.
But squash Sea Games team manager Nik Razeen Daud felt it was more important for Rachel, 21, to recover for the Sea Games which starts on Aug 19.
“From what I was told, Rachel’s injury is not serious and she should be okay for the Sea Games,” said Nik Razeen as the national Sea Games contingent checked into their official hotel in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“There appeared little chance of winning a medal in Manchester and Rachel is very important for us to achieve our seven-gold target at the Sea Games.”
Rachel, runner-up to Nicol at this year’s National Championships, will not only defend her singles gold medal but will also pair up with Syafiq Kamal in the mixed doubles.
But in a bid to relieve the burden on her shoulders, Rachel will not play in the team event where national juniors S. Sivasangari and Andrea Lee will lead Malaysia’s defence of the title.
Nik Razeen said SRAM was forced into making one change to the women’s team after national junior Zoe Foo announced her retirement from the sport following the World Junior Championships.
Nazihah Hanis Razak will fill in for Zoe, who was only slated to play in the team event at the Sea Games.
“Zoe was to be our third-string players in the team event but Nazihah will now take her place,” added SRAM deputy president Nik Razeen.