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ASIAN CRISIS: Home or Away

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ASIAN CRISIS: Home or Away
Asia has half the worldís population but not in squash. With one player in the menís and womenís top 20 apiece and just one more each in the top 40 they are massive under-repesented at the top levels of the sport. What is the problem? Alex Wan investigates.

Apart from the level of squash alone, being abroad on oneís own also forces one to be more independent and organised. Back home, all the administrative work is done by the SRA and hence, players get a little spoilt. When abroad on their own, all these things fall onto their hands, forcing one to be far more organised than they are. These things, I strongly believe, indirectly help oneís train of thought, which in turn becomes a second nature in the strategizing of their squash matches too.

Given that the COVID-19 virus is still lurking everywhere and in many places, the situation is far worse than it was a year ago. With this in mind, the benefits that one could get and what statistics have been showing, should Asian players really start considering a move abroad to salvage or revive their squash careers in this uncertain period?

At the very least, the players should be realistic to realise that the pandemic is not going away soon. Consider just going ahead to play the events Ė bite the bullet, serve the quarantines and do whatís needed to move on. Indiaís Saurav Ghosal has done that, and he has shared that itís a tedious process heís had to go through when he travelled to the Egyptian Open in October last year:

ďItís just very difficult to travel now. It is very tedious and it takes a lot of planning. Cost wise, itís a lot more too. Iíve had to travel to Dubai, stay there for a bit before flying to Cairo in a few days.

ďI also canít go back to India until the season is done, because if I do, then I have to do the two weeks of quarantine (upon my return). I will just have to stay away for the entire season with the situation as it is now.Ē

Another Asian we could possibly see following Sauravís path is Malaysian number one Low Wee Wern. The former world number five had indicated in January to a local daily that she is considering being based abroad temporarily to be able to play a few tournaments this season.

Top Malaysian players who made the move overseas for international success ¨Ė Ong Beng Hee, Nicol David, Sharon Wee and Azlan Iskandar