Monday, April 13, 2009

Qatar Invitational

Just got back from the Qatar International with some of the Malaysian boys. It was an invitational tournament with England, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Egypt, Malaysia and host Qatar. The individual event was for U-13, U-15, U-17 and an Open category but only boys events. Malaysia won the U-15 boys through Darren Subramaniam. Kam Hing took 3rd place in the Open event and most of the other boys ended up in the 5th to 8th placing bunch. All other events were won by Egypt.

There was a team event and the format was U-15, where 2 players from the U-13 and U-15 formed the team and an Open event with the U-17 and Open players making the numbers. The Open event was won by Egypt followed by Malaysia and India. U-15 teams was won by Egypt with Hong Kong and England 2nd and 3rd respectively. Malaysia finished an unlucky 4th despite beating England.
The Malaysian Open Team that finished 2nd

Kam Hing finished 3rd in the Open Individual

Darren Subra, winner of the U-15

The Malaysian Team

During the competition, we had a field trip to the Aspire Dome where Qatar are currently developing their athletes to world class level. Check out the pics.

The Aspire Sports Complex, 2006 Asian Games venue

Some of the indoor halls in the Dome

What was amazing was the athletes dorm. It was strictly 2 to a room and complete with house keeping. They have around 125 room for all the athletes and mind you, these are 13 to 18 year old athletes. The classrooms are also top class and every year 5000 kids apply to enter and only 50 make it.

Room while house keeping being done
Athletes Lounge

We can only dream of getting facilities like Aspire. Anyway, the tournament was a good introduction for me to get to know some of the players in the National training centre and also assessing the task at hand. Till next time, happy squashing.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Beginning of A New Dawn?

The 1st of April marks my biggest decision in my entire life, it is a life changing one be it good or bad. "What is it?" some of you may ask and some of you may already know. I have always been vocal and an advocate for change in the country's way of handling squash issues and starting today, I am putting myself in the midst of it all. I officially start work as the National Men's Coach/ Assistant Head Coach. Don't really like the 2nd part of it though because I am not an assistant for sure. Deputy maybe but no assistant. Look into the that Chris!

Anyway, by being in the middle of the mess, I am relishing the opportunity to see if I can bring changes and lift the fortunes of the backup players. They are in the dumps at the moment and hopefully the response will be a positive one. I still believe that the talent is there as most of them finished 3rd in the World Junior Team Championships in Auckland 2006. Trying to fulfill that talent will be a tough task but I am looking forward to it.

To those of you who think that I will be changing my firebrand ways of doing things, you better forget it. I will continue to do what I do best and what I know is right till kingdom come. Cheers and till next time, Happy Squashing.