PSA PLAYER BIOGRAPHY
Name: Ong Beng Hee
Date of Birth: 4 February 1980
Place of Birth: Penang
Place of Residence: Penang/London
Current World Ranking (May 03): 10
Highest World Ranking (Dec 01): 7
National Ranking: 1
PSA Titles: 7
PSA Final Appearances: 11
|Ong Beng Hee has become
Malaysia’s most successful squash player of all-time. In August 1998, the
18-year-old from Penang crowned a glittering junior career by becoming the
world junior champion in the USA – an achievement that made him the first
non-Pakistani Asian to claim the world junior title.
He began the new millennium outside the top 40. By the end of the year he had won the Asian Championship; had become the first Malaysian to qualify for the British Open, then went on to make the quarter-finals; and had secured three PSA titles. The third of these was in Kuala Lumpur where he became the first home winner of the prestigious Malaysian Open. His sparkling year was rewarded by a leap into the top ten, and a career-best world No7 ranking in December 2001.
Ong Beng Hee began playing squash when he was eight – at the 17-court club his squash-enthusiast father had built in Malaysia. He first came to international attention in January 1994 when he won the prestigious British Junior Open U-14 title in England. A year later he reached the final of the U-16 British Open, going one better in January 1996 by winning the U-16 title. Later that year, he showed his promise by reaching the semi-finals of the 1996 World Junior Open in Egypt, competing as a 16-year-old in an event in which most fellow competitors were at least two years older.
By this time, Ong Beng Hee was also competing on the PSA Tour, and reached the final of the Milo Open in Kuala Lumpur.
Coached initially by his father, then the Canadian Malaysian national coach Jamie Hickox, Ong Beng moved to England in 1997 to work with Neil Harvey, coach to world champion Peter Nicol. “Neil improved my game mentally and physically,” Ong Beng Hee conceded. “I was fit enough for the junior game but I was not quick enough. After playing with Peter Nicol and other players working with Neil, when I got back to the junior game I was much quicker.”
In January 1998, he became the British Junior Open U-19 champion, at the age of 17, and joined a select and distinguished group of squash players who have claimed all three British Junior Open titles. In August, Beng Hee clinched the World Junior Open title in his second successive final, beating Egypt’s Wael El Hindi 7-9 9-5 9-0 9-5 in Princeton, USA.
In 2001, Ong reached the quarter-finals of five Super Series events, the Flanders Open, PSA Masters, British Open, Hong Kong Open and Al-Ahram International – and in the PSA Masters in Egypt made it through to the last four before bowing out to the eventual champion Jonathon Power.
In October, Beng Hee led Malaysia to a best-ever seventh-place finish in the Men’s World Team Championships in Melbourne – then in November he won his sole title of the year when he beat Stefan Casteleyn in the final of the Macau Open.
After the disappointment of losing his Malaysian Open title in December - falling to Australia’s Joseph Kneipp in the second round – Beng Hee made a strong start to his 2002 campaign by winning the Swedish Open title in Linköping, beating Finland’s Olli Tuominen 15-10 11-15 15-12 12-15 15-8 in the final of the first major PSA event in Sweden for almost a decade.
By his own standards, Ong suffered a disappointing PSA run thereafter – losing in the first round of the Tournament of Champions and becoming a second round casualty in the Pakistan Open, British Open and PSA Masters. However, his earlier Super Series event successes were enough to ensure that the young Malaysian qualified to make his Super Series Finals debut in London in June.
In May, Beng Hee delighted his Malaysian fans by successfully defended his title in the Asian Championships in Kuala Lumpur, beating second-seeded Pakistani Mansoor Zaman 9-3 10-8 9-4 in a repeat of the 2000 men’s final in Hong Kong.
Ong Beng Hee’s main interests outside squash include ‘watching TV, listening to the radio, travelling and staying in 5-star hotels’ – while his ambitions for the year are ‘to get into the top four and win a medal at the Commonwealth Games’.
|ONG BENG HEE
Jan 94 Winner British Junior Open (U14) ENG
Jan 95 Runner-up British Junior Open (U16) ENG
Jan 96 Winner British Junior Open (U16) ENG
Jul 96 Semi-finalist World Junior Open EGY
Oct 96 Runner-up Milo Open MAS
Jul 97 Semi-finalist Albuquerque Open USA
Sep 97 Semi-finalist Milo Open MAS
Jan 98 Winner British Junior Open (U19) ENG
Aug 98 Winner World Junior Open USA
Dec 98 Quarter-finalist Asian Games THA
Jan 99 Runner-up British Junior Open (U19) ENG
Jan 99 Runner-up Asian Junior Championships MAS
Apr 99 Winner Milo Open MAS
Apr 99 Winner Castellanza Open ITA
Jul 99 Runner-up Kuala Lumpur Open MAS
Oct 99 Runner-up Pakistan Circuit No2 PAK
Apr 00 Winner Mega Italia Open ITA
Apr 00 Winner Milo Open MAS
Jul 00 Winner Asian Championship HKG
Oct 00 Quarter-finalist *British Open ENG
Oct 00 Semi-finalist Motor City Open USA
Oct 00 Semi-finalist Grasshopper Cup SWI
Nov 00 Runner-up Macau Open HKG
Dec 00 Winner Malaysian Open MAS
Feb 01 Quarter-finalist *Flanders Open BEL
Apr 01 Semi-finalist *PSA Masters EGY
Jun 01 Quarter-finalist *British Open ENG
Aug 01 Quarter-finalist *Hong Kong Open HKG
Sep 01 Quarter-finalist *Al-Ahram International EGY
Oct 01 (7th-placed team) World Team Championships AUS
Nov 01 Winner Macau Open MAC
Nov 01 Quarter-finalist YMG Capital Classic CAN
Dec 01 Quarter-finalist Malaysian Open MAS
Jan 02 Winner Swedish Open SWE
Jan 02 1st round *Tournament of Champions USA
Mar 02 2nd round *Pakistan Open PAK
Apr 02 2nd round *British Open ENG
Apr 02 2nd round *PSA Masters QAT
May 02 Winner Asian Championship MAS
* Super Series events