Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Asian Squash Championships

The Asian Squash Championships this years was in Kuwait from the 13th to 21st of February 2008 and there were 13 men's team and 8 women's team taking part. The tournament started with the individual rounds for the all the players from the 13th to 17th and followed by the team events on the 18th to 21st.

All this was held in a brand new squash complex specifically built for this tournament. The complex has 8 ASB glass back courts and 1 ASB Championship Court. The Championship Court has a seating capacity of 1000 people and had a see through dome directly above it and it looks magnificent.

China finished 10th in the men's event and 6th in the women's. That is a very good achievement for a new team and in the process beat Macau and Taiwan. It was a little disappointing as Singapore and Sri Lanka did not send a woman's team. That would have been excellent to see how much more the China girls need to improve. The team in 5th place was India and they were just too good for us.

As for the men, I guess that they have a long, long way to go before they can compete in the Asian Level. As such, I am asking China to focus a little more on the women's team as they can be Asian class in the near future.

Congrats to Nicol David and Azlan Iskandar for winning the individual titles. It's Nicol's 6th in a row and Azlan's 1st. He beat Ong Beng Hee in a 2 hour marathon final which had the spectators glued to their seats all the time... Great squash guys! Congrats also to the Malaysian men and women's teams as they also swept the team titles.

What I Have Been Up To

I have been wanting to post something for a while now but been unable due to the firewall set up by the Chinese government, all blogs are not accessible. Anyway, what has China gotta do with me writing my blog? Well, I'm now working for China Squash Association as their coach on a part time basis for the moment.

How's China squash? That's the question you maybe asking. Well, it's in it's infancy and just starting to gain a little foothold in China with adults in clubs. At the moment, Beijing seems to have the biggest number of squash players followed by Shanghai. How good are they? Well, let's say they are just social players wanting to have a sweat. There is also a big number of expatriates who play the game in clubs and that's helping the popularity of the game.

I'm currently based in the Shanghai University of Sports (SUS). They have 4 squash courts there and China Squash Association has made it the national team base. The players are university students and most of them just picked up the game of squash. It seems that they have more girls than guys, 5 girls and 1 guy from the university. There are another 3 players that are away and joins the sessions when I am in Shanghai.

So far the progress of the players have been good and encouraging. I feel that the girls are of better potential to be able to reach Asian level. Most of them are former badminton players and as such have very quick feet and good agility. But teaching them squash is not as easy as it is. But I'm enjoying the experience.

Till next time, cheers.