The recent Old Chang Kee Singapore Squash Open 2014 was dominated by Malaysians, as Ong Beng Hee (above, middle) and Rachel Arnold captured the men’s and women’s premier event title respectively. (Photo by VoxSports)
Asian Games Gold medallist and experienced squash player Ong was up against his younger compatriot 25-year-old Valentino Bong (below, right) but he shrugged off the latter’s challenge to walk away with a 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 win.
(Photo by VoxSports)
After clinching the title, Ong expressed his happiness at overcoming Bong in a tight match where one lapse in concentration could have gotten costed him a game.
“Today’s match obviously it’s pretty tough; playing in the finals of any tournament, the margin of winning or losing is very slim.” the 34-year-old added.
At the women’s end, Singapore’s Mao Shu Hui put up a strong fight against Arnold despite going down 11-5 in the first set.
Mao pushed her opponent real hard in the second game, as she leveled the set at 10-10.
Singapore’s Mao Shu Hui (left) lost out to Malaysia's Rachel Arnold in the women's finals. (Photo by VoxSports)
While it did rattle the 18-year-old Arnold, she took it in her stride and managed to overcome Mao 12-10 before taking the last game 11-5 to earn her first title of the year.
“I thought played pretty well, compared to this year I wasn’t playing pretty well in tournaments and this is my first title for the year so I’m pretty happy about it,” Arnold said after the game.
“It was pretty hard to play her, she was hitting the ball pretty hard and I tried to just cope with it by lobbing and I got most of my points from them,” the world no.64 added about Mao.
Only a student at Yale University in United States, Mao felt she gave the top seed a good fight.
“I think I played as well as I could given the conditions, she’s obviously a really good player, she’s number 64 now,” Mao said.
“I’m still in university, although I play for my school now. I wish I could have taken a game, and I thought the second game was quite close but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
An All-American - an honour given to the top 20 squash players at the United States college level - Mao also shared that she hopes build on her performance to gain a chance to represent the nation at the upcoming Southeast Asian Games next year.
“I hope to get an opportunity to play, I think it really depends if I get selected because the selection process is something that’s separated but given the opportunity I would definitely think about playing,” she said.