Asian Games, Doha, Qatar

Howard Harding, Media Manager, WSF: 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 5/8.

The Asian Games draw was made in Chennai,  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.

Men’s 1st round draw:
[1] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bye
Hussain Khalil Ali (BRN) v Kim Sung Young (KOR)
Navin Samarasinghe (SRI) v Shahaib Ali-A (IRQ)
[5/8] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) v Ali Al Miski (LIB)
[5/8] Wai Hang Wong (HKG) v Abdul Rahman Al-Malki (QAT)
Abdullah Almezayen (KUW) v Sun Kin Peng (MAC)
Mohammad Al Zbaidi (JOR) v Ricky Espinola (PHI)
[3/4] Mansoor Zaman (PAK) bye
[3/4] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND)bye
Eyad Al Samaheji (BRN) v Eranga Alwis (SRI)
Kim Dong Woo (KOR) v Abdulhadi Al Marri (QAT)
[5/8] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Armando Amante (MAC)
[5/8] Ali Alramezi (KUW) v Robert Garcia (PHI)
Roger Ngan (HKG) v Nasser Mouien (IRQ)
Ahmad Al Zabidi (JOR) v Pinghua Cai (CHN)
[2] Ong Beng Hee (MAS)bye

Women’s 1st round draw:
[1] Nicol David (MAS)bye
[5/8] Eun Ok Park (KOR) v Dareen Toro (AHO)
[5/8] Mami Nishio (JPN) v Nirasha Guruge (SRI)
[3/4] Christina Mak (HKG) v Si Man Wendy Chan (MAC)
[3/4] Sharon Wee (MAS) v Chi Leng Joyce Kuok (MAC)
[5/8] Chinatsu Matsui (JPN) v Tehani Guruge (SRI)
[5/8] Joshna Chinappa (IND) v Eun Chan Ahn (KOR)
[2] Rebecca Chiu (HKG) v Zhenzhen Wu (CHN)

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About Cyrus Poncha
I was born and lived in Bombay before moving to Chennai in 2001 to coach the Indian national squash team....what a journey its been!!

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