glittering squash career in which she has won every prize on offer,
Malaysian superstar Nicol David could hardly have dreamed of a
better way of celebrating her 35th birthday than by claiming a record
fifth Asian Games gold medal - 20 years after winning her first.
The former world
number one - a title David held for an unprecedented 109 months in a row
- defended the title she last won in Incheon in 2014 after again
surviving a final against a fellow countrywoman. This time, at the
Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex in the Indonesia capital Jakarta,
David had to fight back from 2/1 down to overcome teenager
Sivasangari Subramaniam - her undoubted successor - 11-13, 11-9,
5-11, 11-6, 11-8 in 52 minutes (both pictured above in final action).
While David was
marking her sixth successive appearance in the event - the only player
in Jakarta to have also competed in the inaugural event in Thailand in
1998 - Subramaniam was making her debut. The 19-year-old 5/8 seed from
Kedah claimed two of the biggest scalps of her brief career to reach the
final, seeing off second seed Annie Au in the quarter-finals,
then world No.16 Joshna Chinappa in the semis to set up a meeting
with her idol for the first time.
"It's always nice
to win the gold for Malaysia," David, from Penang, told
. "This win also means a lot to me too as this is likely my last Asian
"Of course it was
a really close battle too. Sivasangari came into the final having won
the biggest matches in career and she had that momentum going. I knew it
was always going to be tough and true enough it went to five. I'm really
pleased with my performance in the end.
"But I'm also
really proud of Sivasangari. She has trained hard and she showed that
she can stand among the best too."
Subramaniam (pictured above, left, with David) added: "I'm satisfied
with my individual showing. I had an amazing run and I got to play Nicol.
It's certainly a dream come true for me but it's now on to the next one,
which is the team event."
The men's final
was also a one-nation affair in which second seed Max Lee, the
Hong Kong No.1, faced domestic rival Leo Au, the 3/4 seed (both
pictured below in action) who upset Indian favourite Saurav Ghosal
to reach the final against the odds.
Lee boasted a
career 10-7 head-to-head advantage over Au going into the match - but
only two months ago lost out to lower-ranked Au in the Hong Kong
national championship final.
World No.21 Au
carried on where he left off on home soil, and defeated Lee 11-8, 12-10,
6-11, 11-4 to become the first Hong Kong player to claim gold in the
"I think both Max
and I played very well today," said the 28-year-old (pictured above,
right, with Lee) afterwards. "I'm very happy that we made it a 1-2
finish for Hong Kong.
"On a personal
note, I feel that I've finally made it happen for myself. All my hard
work and perseverance has finally paid off. I've proven to myself that I
can actually do it!"
After a dramatic Squash
semi-finals day in the Asian Games in Indonesia, both
Malaysia and Hong Kong China are certain to strike gold in
Sunday's finals at the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex in
Sivasangari Subramaniam continued her giant-killing run in her
maiden appearance in the Games by taking her second world top 20 scalp
in 24 hours. After despatching top seed Annie Au in the
quarter-finals, the 19-year-old world No.40 battled for 41 minutes to
overcome Joshna Chinappa, the world No.16 from India, 12-10,
11-6, 9-11, 11-7 to secure a surprise place in the women's final.
The 5/8 seed from Kedah
will now face compatriot Nicol David, the illustrious former
world number one who reached the final for the sixth time in a row after
seeing off Indian rival Dipika Pallikal Karthik 11-7, 11-9, 11-6.
"I really can't believe
it," Subramaniam (pictured above) told
. "First beating Annie and then Joshna today - both of them are top
players on the world tour. It feels really amazing to get into the final
in my first Asian Games.
"I know I had nothing to
lose today and even though Joshna came back really strongly to take the
third, I just kept my focus and did what I needed for the win.
"But it's not the end yet.
I have another big match against Nicol. It will be my first time playing
her and it's really like a dream come true but I just have to stay
focused and give it everything I have."
David, now one win away
from a phenomenal fifth gold medal in 20 years, will contest the 2018
final on her 35th birthday. "I'm pleased to win my match today and I
felt good going up against Dipika who is a tough contender," said the
favourite from Penang.
The first ever all-Hong
Kong men's final was set up by outsider Leo Au, the 3/4 seed who
denied Indian number one Saurav Ghosal, the top seed (both
pictured above), a place in the final for the second successive time
after fighting back from 2/0 down to upset the world No.12 10-12, 11-13,
11-6, 11-5, 11-6 in 76 minutes.
Au, the reigning Hong Kong
champion, will now line up against domestic rival Max Lee after
the second seed was also made to fight back from two games down before
beating Malaysian Nafiizwan Adnan (pictured below, left, with
Lee) 5-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9.
"I think today, I was able
to be more patient and stay focussed (despite being two down) right till
the end," said 28-year-old Au, ranked just two places in the world lower
than his compatriot. "I'm happy that it's an all-Hong Kong final
"We will give our best as
we've already achieved our team goal," added a delighted Au.
Against expectations, Malaysia are in line for a triple squash
medal haul in the Asian Games in Indonesia after
Nafiizwan Adnan and Sivasangari Subramaniam, both 5/8 seeds,
pulled off major upsets in today's quarter-finals at the Gelora Bung
Karno Sports Complex in Jakarta to secure places in the
semi-finals for the first time in their careers.
Subramaniam, a 19-year-old from Kedah, scored the biggest win of her
career when she beat second seed Annie Au, the world No.11 from
Hong Kong, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5, 3-11, 11-5.
"I still can't believe that I've managed to produce a win over Annie,"
the jubilant Subramaniam (pictured above, left, in quarter-final action)
said afterwards. "She's the second seed in the tournament and ranked as
high as number 11 in the world.
"I went on court just looking to play my best squash, which I did and
I'm just so happy to get through to the semi-finals in my first Asian
Games," continued the teenager who recently won the Malaysian national
title. "It's really a big thing getting through into the top four but
now I have to reset and focus again because I have another big match
The player she will now face in a bid to reach the final is Joshna
Chinappa, a 3/4 seed from India who needed four games to overcome
Hong Kong left-hander Joey Chan 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 12-10.
Adnan, who showed his potential only months ago in the Commonwealth
Games in Australia when he won the bronze medal from the position of
12th seed, continued to defy the seeding in Jakarta by taking out
Abdulla Al-Tamimi, a 3/4 seed. Ranked 12 places behind the Qatari,
Adnan squandered a 2/0 lead before clinching his win 11-9, 12-10, 9-11,
5-11, 11-9 in exactly one hour.
"It was really a tough fight but it's worth it because at least there
will be a medal for Malaysia," said the 32-year-old world No.40
(pictured above, right).
"I feel awesome and very glad to win today and contributing a medal to
my beloved country, especially in this special "Merdeka" (independence)
month. It was a tough match and now I am looking forward to a good rest
this evening - and hopefully tomorrow, I'll do even better than today."
Adnan progresses to face Max Lee, the No.2 seed from Hong Kong
who ended Kuwaiti interest in the event when he beat Ammar Altamimi
11-5, 11-4, 11-7.
kept alive her hopes of a record fifth gold medal when she despatched
one of the women's game's rising stars Satomi Watanabe, of Japan,
11-6, 11-4, 11-3.
"It's great to be in the semi-finals and I'm very happy with the way I
played," said Nicol (pictured above, left), who now faces Indian rival
Dipika Pallikal Karthik for a place in her sixth successive
Top men's seed Saurav Ghosal, bidding to become the first Indian
gold medallist in the event, had a tough quarter-final battle on his
hands against fellow countryman Harinder Pal Sandhu. After
dropping the opening game, the favourite regained control of the match
to prevail 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 after 70 minutes.
The world No.12 from Kolkata (pictured above, right) now takes on Hong
Kong's Leo Au in a bid to reach the final for the second time in
After two rounds of intense action on the opening day of
Squash competition in the Asian Games in Indonesia, it is
the top eight seeds who will line up in both the men's and women's
quarter-finals at the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex in the
All eyes are on Malaysian
superstar Nicol David - the only player who has competed in all
the previous five Asian Games in which squash has participated. It was
as a 15-year-old that the schoolgirl from Penang burst onto the
international stage at the 1998 Games in Pattaya, Thailand, where she
claimed gold - going on to reach the finals in the next four quadrennial
events, winning three further gold medals.
Now 34, and the oldest
player in the draw, David is seeded to defend her title - and moved
comfortably into the last eight after seeing off China's Li Dongjin
11-8, 11-5, 11-1.
The former world number
one will now face rising star Satomi Watanabe, the 19-year-old
from Japan who is the reigning Asian Junior champion. Making her debut
in the event, Watanabe defeated Iran's Fereshteh Eghtedari 11-7,
Watanabe is joined in the
last eight by compatriot Misaki Kobayashi, the 28-year-old
eight-time Japanese National champion who surrendered her title to her
younger rival last year. Kobayashi's 11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 11-13, 11-9
victory over the Republic of Korea's Yura Choi means that Japan
has two quarter-finalists for the first time ever.
A new champion is assured
in the men's event where India's world No.12 Saurav Ghosal is
poised to strike gold after going down in a five-game 2014 final
marathon in Incheon, Korea.
The 32-year-old from
Kolkata, a semi-finalist in the past three championships, reached the
last eight after first beating Sri Lankan Shamil Wakeel 11-2,
11-2, 11-1, then taking out Pakistan's Tayyab Aslam 11-5, 11-3,
11-13, 11-8 in the second round.
An Indian medal is assured
as Ghosal will now face national team-mate Harinder Pal Sandhu, a
29-year-old from Chennai who made the quarter-finals for the first time
after beating Robert Garcia, from the Philippines, 11-4, 2-11,