Saturday, May 29, 2010

Get Your Fact in Order.

I came across this article while browsing the NST Sports section and it seem that the honourable Datuk Aini who is quite respected by the squash fraternity needs to get better "advisors" (information). Some of the statement show how naive some of his "advisors" are. My points are in red. There are more than meet the eye in this matter but I will refrain from going deeper but maybe in time.

SRAM not churning stars

By Devinder Singh

SELANGOR Squash Racquets Association chairman Datuk Aini Taib has lamented the lack of progress by the state's juniors under the guidance of national coaches.

Selangor has long been a source of players for the Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) with Ong Beng Hee and Ivan Yuen, to name two players, among those who have gone on to bigger things.

But it is those players who have stagnated after being handed to SRAM which has raised Aini's ire.

"There is a huge gap between the back-up players we have now and top players like Nicol David and Beng Hee. We at the state level have produced talented players after teaching them the basics but there is a limit to what we can do.

"That is where we hand them over to the national body to develop them further. It is their duty to help them excel and provide exposure opportunities. I find it perplexing as most of the players have asked to come over but I do agree with you that it is SRAM's duty to help them excel. But at times, it may take a little longer than what we Malaysians are used to. Please again check statistics of the top players in the world and what age do they generally become top performers.

"If anything, as to why Malaysia have a lack of back-up squash players, that is something you have to ask the national body," said Aini in response to a question after launching the Milo All-Stars Junior Squash Championships at the Astaka Courts in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

Several Selangor juniors, among them Tan Yan Xin and Yong Sue Ann, are struggling to show progress and fulfil their early promise despite being under the care of national coaches for the last two years. Yes, they are under the national training centre but does he know that there are other factors that determine progress? Some of it are dependent of genetic build, human growth and development, some of it priorities of the athlete and some of it their goals (parents as well). Some athletes (upon parents decision) can only spend about 10 hours a week on training but some can do 20 hours or more. Volume does play a part. Even then, one the the 2 girls have been here only for 11 months and not 2 years. Progress is not linear and there are more than meets the eye and so unless you know exactly what is happening, it may paint a different picture.

Two others -- Zul Azri Abd Aziz and Darren Subramaniam -- have left the national programme to train on their own with the latter now based in Singapore, where he is also pursuing his studies. Again, Datuk's advisors has got the facts wrong as Zul Azri is still training at the national training centre and has not left the program yet. As for Darren, even your Association didn't know he left for Singapore until he was there. We have extended help and there has yet to be any communication on that from his side. He has also refused to participate in any of the national tournaments while another national junior player in Singapore has been able to communicate, take a training program from us and also participate in national level tournaments.

If left unchecked, former SRAM vice president Aini warned Malaysia would soon be bereft of squash talent.

"We organise a junior competition to give exposure to our players at least cost possible. To send the players to the Scottish Junior Open for example is expensive and we can only send a handful," said Aini.

"But sad to say, more than half of the 400 players registered for this tournament are foreigners. I don't understand why states are not taking the opportunity to send as many of their juniors as possible and give their players a chance to compete." I'm surprised that Datuk Aini was not informed that the Milo All Star clashes with the MSSM? Don't blame the states for not sending. Know what is happening. I know that Datuk takes pride in the Milo All Star but can Datuk come and see the condition of the centre? Firstly, changing rooms are poor, courts are not in the best playing conditions (international events), scheduling that can be better and so on. Of course feedback has been given many times over but what has been done?

Top juniors from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and France will compete in the Milo All-Stars on June 7-12 along with several national juniors.

The girls Under-19 competition is a recognised Wispa Tour rising star event and offers ranking points. India's Ravi Dixit and Penang's Low Wee Nee are the top seeds in the boys' and girls' Under-19 events respectively.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Asian Championships

Nicol vs Rebecca Chiu (HK)
Azlan vs Amir Atlas Khan.

Azlan beat Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 11/5, 11/6, 115
Nicol beat Dipika Palikal (Ind) 11/5, 11/5, 11/2

Our players won the battle against India in the semifinals convincingly to book their places in the finals. Azlan never allowed Saurav into the match with tight length and exquisite drops. Saurav was also frustrated as he was denied lets over and over again as a result of Azlan's drops.

Nicol never allowed Dipika to settle into her stroke making game as Nicol was relentlessly attacking the back corners followed by a quick shot to the front which was then easily put away from Dipika's pick ups. As much as Dipika tired, she eventually gave up in a match that lasted about 20 minutes.

Azlan beat Abdullah Al Mezayan (Kuw) 13/11, 11/7, 12/10
Ong Beng Hee lost to Yasir Butt (Pak) 10/12, 11/8, 11/8, 11/8
Wan lost to Amir Atlas Khan (Pak) 12/10, 11/8, 11/5

Nicol beat Song Sun Mi (Kor) 11/4, 11/7, 11/7
Delia lost to Joey Chan (HK) 11/4, 11/4, 11/6

It was not the best of days for the Malaysian team today. Beng Hee lost to an inspired Yasir Butt who at will was hitting nicks. Seems that Beng Hee has this effect on Pakistanis that they will play the best match of their lives when they are up against him. Delia on the other hand was totally out of sorts on a slower court compared to yesterday's match.

Azlan although won in 3, it was close all the way. Azlan himself admitted that his unforced errors kept Abdullah in the match all the way. Nicol was in cruise control all the way.

Today, Nicol and Azlan will be up against the home favourites, Dipika Palikal and Saurav Ghosal. Updates on Facebook at 4pm Indian time (about 6pm Malaysian)

Round 3
Azlan beat Anson Kwong (HK) 11/2, 11/4, 11/2
Beng Hee beat Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind) 11/7, 11/8, 11/6
Nafiizwan beat Siddarth Suchde (Ind) 11/13, 11/13, 13/11, 11/8, 11/8
Ivan lost to Farhan Mehboob (Pak) 9/11, 11/6, 11/8, 11/8

Wan had a massive match this morning lasting almost 2 hours and starting to get cramps. He was unlucky to lose the first 2 games and fought back from 10-7 down to win the 3rd and eventually the match. Ivan did well and had a good match with Farhan while Beng Hee and Azlan won comfortably. Next up is the quarters and updates on Facebook

Round 2
Azlan beat Ammar Al Temimi (Kuw) 11/2, 11/6, 11/6
Ivan beat Sandeep Jangra (Ind) 16/14, 11/6, 12/14, 11/4
Nafiizwan beat Takanori Shimizu (Jpn) 11/6, 11/8, 11/4
Beng Hee beat Timothy Soh (Sin) 11/3, 11/2, 11/8

Nicol beat Elise Ng (HK) 11/6, 11/6, 11/5
Delia beat Chinatsu Matsui (Jpn) 11/3, 7/11, 11/5, 10/12, 11/5
Sharon lost to Song Sun Mi (Kor) 11/9, 5/11, 10/12, 12/10, 11/9
Wee Wern lost to Dipika Palikal (Ind) 10/12, 12/10, 11/7, 8/11, 11/8

The men played their last 32 matches and all of them won comfortably except Ivan who struggled a little on the courts which are separate from the main building. Those courts are absolutely hot and bouncy and that made him struggle a little. The rest of the men were quite comfortable.

The women's matches were the last 16 matches and Wee Wern and Sharon lost in 5 games. They were both a little unlucky but had chances to close it but couldn't capitalize. Delia struggled on the same courts as Ivan but was in totally in control in the 5th.

There was a massive upset in the women's event when Misaki Kobayashi of Japan beat the 3/4 seed, Annie Au of HK 3-1 to set up a date with Dipika for a place in the finals. Annie looked out of sorts and on the hot and bouncy courts in the other building, Misaki took full advantage to pull the biggest upset of her career.

Today, the men will play 2 matches; last 16 in the morning and quarters in the evening while the women will only play their quarterfinal matches in the evening. Updates on my Facebook.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Interesting but true......

Comment: Using gag order to keep a lid on truth


Devinder Singh

GAG orders are there for a reason, whether valid or not, it depends on an individual's point of view.

But what gag orders usually represent is fear. Fear of deep and dark secrets spilling out into the open, as some of our sports associations can attest to.

Journalists do not care much for gag orders although there are instances where we adhere to them so as to protect those who face persecution for daring to speak the truth.

Football, squash and athletics are some of the associations fond of restricting freedom of speech although where the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) is concerned, this order is mostly flouted.

The FA of Malaysia punishes any player, coach or official falling out of line when matters of policy are called into question.

With the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM), however, silence is strictly enforced with nobody other than the president authorised to speak to the media in an official capacity.

It does not matter whether it is policy related or something even as benign as selection of players for overseas assignments, a right which anywhere else would lie with the coaches.

This matter can sometimes be a source of irritation in relations between media and associations.

While the Federal Constitution clearly enshrines the freedom of speech as a basic right, sports associations blatantly gag their own people as one squash coach found out to his detriment recently.

No sooner had a local daily quoted him on the national players' chances of winning titles at an upcoming tournament, a letter was sent to him reminding him of SRAM's gag on coaches speaking publicly.

Apparently, it did not matter that the subject of coaching and players is clearly within his remit, but all the same the message is "Keep your mouth shut."

It makes me wonder why our sports leaders are so iron-fisted in their approach that they can brook no criticism whether from within or externally.

Accountability is a rare commodity in sports, as those following the travails of MAAU will agree.

To those keen on keeping a lid on the truth, all I would like to say is you can't silence them all.