With the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow just two weeks away, the Malaysian men’s squash players are in a race against time to find their form.
Malaysia will be led by veteran Ong Beng Hee, Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan and Ivan Yuen in the individual event at the July 23-Aug 3 Games. Beng Hee will also partner Ivan in the doubles.
But things are not looking good for the Malaysians. At the US$25,000 (RM79,700) CCI PSA Championship at Mumbai, India, last week, the 34-year-old Beng Hee suffered an embarrassing loss.
Seeded second, Beng Hee was beaten 6-11, 7-11, 11-3, 10-12 by Indian youngster Mahesh Mangaokar, the world No. 70, in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, national No. 2 Nafiizwan will be out to boost his confidence when he competes in the Victorian Open, which starts in Melbourne, Australia, today.
The world No. 38 also failed to shine at NZ Southern Open in New Zealand at the end of last month. Nafiizwan, the top seed, was beaten by world No. 68 Rex Hedrick of Australia in the semi-finals.
“My performance in New Zealand was simply not good enough. But I’m confident of a better showing in the Victorian Open because I need to carry some good momentum into the Commonwealth Games,” said Nafiizwan.
“I’m not seeded in the individual event at Games. In the mixed doubles, I’m only the eighth seed with Delia (Arnold). There will not be too much pressure on me to win, but I want to prove that I can deliver as well.
“The Victorian Open will be tough as there are good players in my half of the draw but I know I can win. I just need to do the job well,” he added.
Nafiizwan is seeded second. He will meet homester Thomas Calvert in the first round and should progress into the quarter-finals to set up a meeting with Ivan.
If he lives up to his billing, Nafiizwan is likely to face either Hedrick or New Zealand’s Martin Knight in the semi-finals.
The other Malaysians in the fray are Sanjay Singh Chal, Mohd Addeen Idrakie, Mohd Hannan Tarmidi and Mohd Syafiq Kamal.