Nicol David & Ong Beng
Hee In Double Asian Games Gold Triumph For Malaysia
celebrated a unique squash gold double in the 15th Asian
Games today (Thursday) when world number one Nicol David
defeated title-holder Rebecca Chiu in the women's final and
Ong Beng Hee retained the men's crown after fighting back from a
game down against compatriot Mohd Azlan Iskandar at the
Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar.
As expected, Nicol
David exorcised her demons of the last Asian Games by triumphing in
the womens singles. Four years ago, the Penangite suffered a
devastating loss to Rebecca Chiu in the final in Korea which caused
her to take a four-month break from the game to reassess her career in
But it was a whole
different story this time as she brushed aside her rival from Hong
Kong 90, 93, 93 in just 34 minutes.
Clad in a striking red
and black outfit, the Malaysian 23-year-old was a picture of
concentration and determination as she took to the court. David
stamped her authority on the game early on and raced into a 30 lead.
She made good use of the court to stretch that advantage to 50. Try
as she might, Chiu had no answer to the world champion's incessant
pressure and the opening game ended with a 90 whitewash in just six
David began the second
game in similar fashion, winning the first point by varying her pace.
Chiu finally broke the ice with a powerful shot to the right-hand
corner of the court. But David was soon on top again and, after a
series of long rallies, stretched her lead to 41, before wrapping up
the second game 93.
In the third, the
world number one raced into a 30 lead. The defending champion
managed to win a few points after an impressive array of shots and
evened the score at 3-3. But David, the 1998 champion, returned with
a series of clinical executions to confirm her status as the Asian
Games' top player and seal the match with a 93 score in the final
Nicol David's gold
marked the 200th for Malaysia in the history of the Asian Games!
After the game, David
was keen to play down any talk of revenge: "There is no thought of
revenge. It is more about wanting to win that medal. She is a hard
player to play and I had to keep her out of her comfort zone.
It was a good match
and I feel really ecstatic. It was the last day of the last
tournament of the year and there was so much pressure on both girls
leading into the game. It has been a great year and a great way to
finish off by winning here.
Chiu said: I played
just normally. Nicol overpowered me and put me under great pressure.
I think I should have been more patient. I need to work hard to win
against her. I knew it before I started the match. She is so much
better than me. Her speed and strength were superior, so I couldnt
perform to my full potential. It was easier for her to get a point
and very hard for me to respond.
In the men's final
that followed, Ong Beng Hee confirmed his status as the top player in
the region when he beat the higher-ranked Iskandar 5-9, 9-1, 10-9, 9-5
in 73 minutes appropriately the longest match of the tournament.
Beng Hee, for many
years the top-ranked man in Malaysia, won the Asian Games gold medal
four years ago in Korea. But since then, the 26-year-old from Kuala
Lumpur has twice lost to his 24-year-old fellow countryman and
Iskandar is currently ranked 13 in the world, five places above Beng
The pair have been
playing each other for a very long time now. At the Asian
Championships in Chinese Taipei earlier in the year, Beng Hee beat
Azlan 3/0. Earlier that month Azlan had beaten Beng Hee in a
closely-contested final of the Kuala Lumpur Open. They may
have differing styles of play, but they know each other's game well
and their level of play is almost similar. Unlike the women's match
there was no clear favourite.
The first game was
played at a medium pace with Azlan being the steadier of the two. Beng
Hee's game was laced with far too many errors and he promptly lost the
game. Beng Hee increased the pace in the second and top seed
Iskandar started making the errors. The third was more or less the
same as second seed Beng Hee raced to an 8-5 lead.
Azlan forged a
comeback to make it 8-8 but a couple of errors saw him lose 10-8. The
fourth was close until half way, when the title-holder smelled blood
and attacked all the way to the crown for the second time in a row.
While Nicol David -
whose title haul for the year is now eight and her unbeaten run
stretched to 36 matches since July will return to her home in Penang
for Christmas, both Ong Beng Hee and Mohd Azlan Iskandar will race to
Saudi Arabia to compete in the Saudi International in Al-Khobar. The
second richest PSA Tour event of the year gets underway on
Saturday (16 December), with Iskandar seeded 10th and Beng
Double Asian Games
Gold Beckons For Malaysia
first squash gold medal double is on the cards for Malaysia in
the 15th Asian Games in Qatar after world
number one Nicol David cruised into the women's final following
an emphatic victory in today's (Wednesday) semi-finals and Mohd
Azlan Iskandar and Ong Beng Hee set up the anticipated
all-Malaysian men's final at the Khalifa International Tennis and
Squash Complex in Doha.
seed Nicol David and No2 seed Rebecca Chiu, the title-holder
from Hong Kong , were too strong for their respective opponents
in the women's semi-finals.
"David's movement was so efficient and her shot selection so effective
that it was a joy to watch," said ASF Technical Delegate Major
Maniam after the 23-year-old from Penang's 9-0, 9-1, 9-0 victory
over Hong Kong 's Christina Mak.
also played brilliantly to contain her opponent Sharon Wee,
beating the 3/4 seed from Malaysia 9-6, 9-1, 9-3 to set up a repeat of
the 1998 and 2002 women's finals.
contrast, the men's semi-finals were more evenly-contested affairs:
The diminutive Saurav Ghosal, the 5/8 seed from India who
secured an unexpected place in the medals after upsetting compatriot
Ritwik Bhattacharya in the previous round, had the crowd
entertained with his delightful front game and his awesome retrieving
opponent Ong Beng Hee picked up almost all of Saurav's attacking shots
to the front - and at the same time threw in a few of his own to take
a two-game lead. Ghosal continued with the same sort of game in the
third and slowly it began to produce results. Beng Hee was either
getting a little late to the ball or was tinning his returns with
the result that the Indian underdog took a well-deserved third game.
fourth was looking good for Ghosal as he raced to a 4-1 lead with, yet
again, delicate drop shots. The defending champion from Malaysia
decided that he should keep Saurav away from the front and went back
to playing a lot more lobs as he did in the first two games. Rallies
were now getting longer and Ghosal's legs getting wearier. Beng Hee
finished off well to win 9-1, 9-2, 6-9, 9-4 and earn himself a place
in his second successive final.
last semi-final of the day was also fought well by both players. The
beautiful touch of 3/4 seed Mansoor Zaman took the Pakistani to
a 6-1 lead in the first game, a 6-1 lead in the second and a 7-2 lead
in the third. However, all three times he lost as top seed Mohd Azlan
Iskandar determinedly stuck to his task, playing aggressive lengths
Ultimately it was Iskandar's consistency that made the difference as
the world No13 battled to a 10-8, 9-6, 9-7 victory and a place in
his maiden Asian Games final.
India's Ghosal Gets
In The Medals In Doha
to win its first squash medal in the 15th Asian Games
after Saurav Ghosal upset his higher-seeded compatriot Ritwik
Bhattacharya in the quarter-finals at the Khalifa International
Tennis and Squash Complex in
only match of the day fought out between two nationals, 3/4 seed
Bhattacharya took on the fast-improving Ghosal, the 5/8 seed making his
debut in the Games. At 4-2 in the first game, Ritwik sustained a slight
nick on his nose which resulted in a delay while the injury was
play resumed, 20-year-old Ghosal zipped around the court, playing
delightful lengths and awesome finishing shots to take the first game.
The second was no contest as the youngster, who is studying at Leeds
University in the UK, romped home to extend his lead without dropping a
Saurav's drops were tight and low and the lethargic Ritwik was not able
to cope. Being two games down, however, seemed to spur Bhattacharya on
as he came back fighting, forcing Ghosal to make a string of errors.
This, coupled with the more experienced player's own attacking drop
shots, led Bhattacharya to take the third game.
fourth game was fought neck and neck, but Ghosal's consistency shone
through as he romped to a 9-4, 9-0, 6-9, 9-7 victory in 69 minutes to
guarantee himself at least a bronze medal.
a well-deserved victory for Saurav," said ASF Technical Delegate
Indian national champion from Chennai will now face Malaysia's defending
champion Ong Beng Hee for a place in the men's final. It was
shaky start for the No2 seed in his first match of the championship, but
once the four-times Asian champion settled down against Ali Alramezi,
he soon earned a comfortable win, beating the 5/8 seed from Kuwait 9-6,
other men's semi-final will also have Malaysian interest after favourite
Mohd Azlan Iskandar beat Pakistan's 5/8 seed Aamir Atlas Khan
9-7, 9-5, 9-2 in the final match of the day.
a matter of "the best being saved for the last" as, just a few weeks
ago, Iskandar had lost to the 16-year-old in Pakistan. It was time for
revenge for the world No 13. What started promisingly ended tamely,
however, with the Malaysian stamping his authority right from the start
with effective short straight and cross court drives and some delicately
executed straight drops.
Iskandar will take on another Pakistani, 3/4 seed Mansoor Zaman,
after the silver medallist in 2002 beat Hong Kong's Wai Hang Wong
9-7, 9-5, 10-8.
women's event, the eager crowd was able to see favourite Nicol David
in action for the first time. Fresh from her success in last
month's World Open Championship in Belfast, the world number one
from Malaysia opened her 2006 Asian Games campaign against South Korea's
Eun Ok Park and comfortably beat the 5/8 seed 9-0, 9-0, 9-4.
will face Christina Mak for a place in her third final in a row
after the 3/4 seed from Hong Kong beat Japan's Mami Nishio 9-7,
Defending women's gold medallist Rebecca Chiu, of Hong Kong, made
short work of Joshna Chinappa beating the Indian No1 9-3, 9-1,
9-2. Chiu, the second seed, now meets Malaysia's 3/4 seed Sharon Wee,
the 9-3, 9-2, 9-2 winner over Japan's Chinatsu Matsui.
Top Seeds Safely
Through In Doha
seeds successfully overcame their initial hurdles in the squash
championships in the 15th Asian Games at the
Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in
championships, which have attracted the region's top squash players,
boast an elite international field led by Malaysia's world number one
and world champion Nicol David in the women's event and Mohd
Azlan Iskandar, also from Malaysia, the world No13 in the men's.
with a bye in the first round, has yet to make her debut in the 2006
event but her great rival Rebecca Chiu, the title-holder from
Hong Kong, today eased into the last eight with a 9-2, 9-6, 9-1 victory
over China's Zhenzhen Wu in 14 minutes.
star Joshna Chinappa faced a tough first round opponent in Eun
Chan Ahn. The South Korean was quick and hit some brilliant winners
from all parts of the court severely testing the 20-year-old 5/8 seed
from Chennai who, according to Indian National Coach Cyrus Poncha,
was "well below par".
Chinappa clinched the match 10-8, 4-9, 9-7, 9-4 after 44 minutes and
will now face Rebecca Chiu for a place in the semi-finals.
two seeds in the men's event claimed their quarter-final places in
contrasting styles. Favourite Iskandar defeated 24-year-old South
Korean Kim Sung Young 9-3, 9-2, 9-0 in 26 minutes while fellow
Malaysian Ong Beng Hee, the defending champion who is seeded two,
walked into the last eight after being handed a walkover by Ahmad Al
Zabidi, from Jordan.
Kuwaiti Ali Alramezi
has not had the ideal preparation for his quarter-final clash with Ong
Beng Hee. The 19-year-old 5/8 seed from Kuwait City twice had to fight
from behind to beat Hong Kong's Roger Ngan 2-9, 9-1, 2-9, 9-2,
9-1 in a 61-minute marathon the longest match of the round.
Asian Squash Hero
Jahangir Khan Witnesses Start Of Asian Games
squash legend Jahangir Khan celebrated his 43rd
birthday today (Sunday) at the Khalifa International Tennis and
Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar, where he attended the
first day's play in the sport in the 15th Asian Games.
the record ten-times British Open champion from Pakistan who is
now President of the World Squash Federation (WSF), was joined by
Asian Squash Federation (ASF) President Mr N Ramachandran.
were no surprises in the completed first round of the men's event and
the top half of the draw in the women's championship.
of Macau, was the only winner taken to more than three games when
Lebanon 's Michel Zeinaty clinched the second to level the
match. After a tough third game, Peng extended his lead before securing
a place in the second round after a 9-4, 3-9, 9-7, 9-4 victory.
bye in the first round, Malaysia 's Ong Beng Hee begins his men's
title defence on Monday against Jordan 's Ahmad Al Zabidi. Beng
Hee, the No2 seed, is expected to meet compatriot Mohd Azlan Iskandar,
the top seed, in the final on Thursday.
Although the top half of the women's event took place today, with the
lower half being played on Monday, favourite Nicol David will not
enter the fray until the quarter-finals on Tuesday after receiving a
first round bye. The 23-year-old Malaysian arrives in Qatar as the
World champion for the second successive year, after clinching the title
in sensational style last month in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
is eager to reclaim the Asian Games title from Hong Kong rival
Rebecca Chiu. Winner of her fifth successive Asian Championship
title earlier this year in Taiwan , David surrendered her Games crown to
Chiu in the 2002 event in South Korea and is expected to face the
second seed in the women's final at the Khalifa Complex.
a fine start to a wonderfully-organised event," said ASF Technical
Director Major Maniam. "Local officials Mr Khalid Obaidly
and Mr Gamal Jasem have worked relentlessly to ensure a smooth
running of the event."
15th ASIAN GAMES 2006
Mohd Azlan Iskandar
Mohd Azlan Iskandar
9-3, 9-2, 9-0 (26m)
KIM Sung Youn
Mohd Azlan Iskandar
9-7, 9-5, 9-2 (43m)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar
10-8, 9-6, 9-7 (63m)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar
5-9, 9-1, 10-9, 9-5 (73m)
ONG Beng Hee
Hussain Khalil ALI (BRN)
9-5, 9-1, 9-4
KIM Sung Young (KOR)
9-4, 9-7, 9-0
ALI-A Shahaib (IRQ)
9-2, 9-0, 9-5 (26m)
AL MISKI Ali (LIB)
9-0, 9-0, 9-1
KHAN Amir (PAK)
Wai Hang WONG (HKG)
9-0, 9-0, 9-0
AL MALKI Abdulrahman (QAT)
Wai Hang WONG
9-1, 9-3, 9-2 (19m)
SUN KIN PENG
Wai Hang WONG
9-7, 9-5, 10-8 (56m)
SUN KIN PENG ((MAC)
9-4, 3-9, 9-7, 9-4
AL MEZAYEN Abdullah (KUW)
AL ZBAIDI Mohammad (JOR)
9-0, 9-1, 9-0 (15m)
Ritwik BHATTACHARYA (IND)
9-1, 9-2, 9-1 (19m)
9-4, 9-0, 6-9, 9-7 (69m)
9-1, 9-2, 6-9, 9-4 (47m)
ONG Beng Hee
AL SAMAHEJI Eyad (BRN)
9-2, 9-3, 9-3
Eranga Nuwan Alwis (SRI)
KIM Dong Woo (KOR)
9-1, 9-1, 9-4
AL MARRI Abdulhadi (QAT)
KIM Dong Woo
9-0, 9-3, 9-1 (30m)
AMANTE Armando (MAC)
9-0, 9-3, 9-0
9-2, 9-4, 9-5
GARCIA Robert (PHI)
2-9, 9-1, 2-9, 9-2, 9-1
9-6, 9-1, 9-0 (22m)
ONG Beng Hee
MOUIEN H Nasser (IRQ)
Roger Ngan (HKG)
Ahmad AL ZABIDI (JOR)
CAI Pinghua (CHN)
Ahmad AL ZABIDI
ONG Beng Hee
ONG Beng Hee (MAS)
2 ONG Beng Hee
BHATTACHARYA Ritwik (IND)
3/4 ZAMAN Mansoor
5/8 WONG Wai Hang
5/8 GHOSAL Saurav
5/8 AL RAMEZI Ali
5/8 KHAN Amir
15th ASIAN GAMES
9-0, 9-0, 9-4 (22m)
Eun Ok Park
9-0, 9-1, 9-0 (25m)
9-0, 9-3, 9-3 (34m)
TORO Dareen (LIB)
9-0, 9-0, 9-0
Eun Ok Park
9-1, 9-2, 9-1
GURUGE Nirasha (SRI)
9-7, 9-1, 9-3 (36m)
CHAN Si Man Wendy (MAC)
9-2, 9-4, 9-3
9-0, 9-0, 9-0 (11m)
9-3, 9-2, 9-2 (29m)
9-6, 9-1, 9-3 (35m)
GURUGE Tehani (SRI)
9-0, 9-2, 9-3 (19m)
10-8, 4-9, 9-7, 9-4
9-3, 9-1, 9-2 (21m)
WU Zhenzhen (CHN)
9-2, 9-6, 9-1 (14m)
1 DAVID Nicol Ann (MAS)
2 CHIU Wing Yin (HKG)
3/4 WEE Sharon Ee Lin (MAS)
3/4 MAK Pui Hin (HKG)
5/8 PARK Eun Ok (KOR)
5/8 CHINAPPA Joshana (IND)
5/8 MATSUI Chinatsu(JPN)
5/8 NISHIO Mami (JPN)
World Champion David & Iskandar Set For Asian Games Malaysian Double
After a short break to celebrate her successful
defence of the World Open Squash Championship title in Belfast on
Sunday, Malaysian Nicol David must set her sights on reclaiming a major
title she does not hold, at the Asian Games in Qatar in December.
David and compatriot Mohd Azlan Iskandar have been named as top squash
seeds in the sport's third appearance in the quadrennial Asian Games, in
Doha from 10-14 December.
In the 2002 Games in Busan, South Korea, Nicol David suffered a rare
loss in the women's final to Rebecca Chiu, the Hong Kong number one whom
she is seeded to meet in the Doha final. The anticipated meeting would
also be a repeat of the 1998 final, which was won by the Malaysian.
"The Asian Games is very important to me, in a different way from the
World Open," said David after her epic 95-minute five-game victory over
Australia's three-times Commonwealth Games gold medallist Natalie
Grinham at the Ulster Hall in the Northern Ireland capital.
"You are part of your country's whole team of athletes from a number of
different sports. There's been a huge build-up the Games and winning
something like that is a whole different feeling," said the 23-year-old
from Penang whose second World Open title triumph stretched her unbeaten
international run to 33 matches!
After a bye in the first round, David is expected to go on to face Hong
Kong's Christina Mak in the semi-finals, before the anticipated final
clash with Chiu.
Top men's seed Iskandar, whose only previous performance in the event
was a semi-final finish four years ago, is expected to meet Malaysian
rival Ong Beng Hee, the defending champion, in the final.
The pair will face stiff competition, however, from Pakistanis Mansoor
Zaman and Aamir Atlas Khan, seeded 3/4 and 5/8, respectively, and
Indians Ritwik Bhattacharya and the Saurav Ghosal, also seeded 3/4 and
The Asian Games draw was made on in Chennai, India - conducted at the
Sports Development Authority of Tamilnadu in Chennai by Ms Apoorva, IAS
(Indian Administrative Service), Member Secretary of the Sports
Development Authority of Tamilnadu (which is equivalent to Director of
Sports, Tamilnadu), in the presence of The President of the Asian Squash
Federation (ASF); the Secretary General of the ASF; and the Technical
Delegate for the 15th Asian Games, Doha.
The seedings were set by Major Maniam, Director of Coaching, ASF; Tony
Choi, Deputy Director of Coaching, ASF; and Fahim Gul Khan, Deputy
Director of Coaching, ASF.