THE Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) will not take any team for granted at the Philippines Sea Games in November, having learned a painful lesson in the previous edition on home ground two years ago.
Malaysia, who are targeting gold in all four events — men and women’s singles, mixed team and mixed doubles — have listed a young squad for the biennial competition this time.
In 2017, the Philippines upset Malaysia in the semi-finals of the men’s team event.
No wonder SRAM director of coaching Major (Rtd) S. Maniam prefers to tread with caution as he expects Singapore and hosts Philippines to be a major threat.
“Singapore have been working very hard while the Philippines will have home ground advantage. So, these two countries could be the dark horses,” Maniam said at a press conference in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
“We have learned from our mistakes at KL2017 and will not repeat them.
“The players we have chosen are playing in various competitions as part of their preparations for the Games.
“Our target is to win four golds and three silvers.”
Malaysia won six golds, four silvers and two bronzes at KL2017, followed by Singapore (3-2-5) and the Philippines (0-2-6).
The men’s squad for this year’s Games comprise Darren Rahul Pragasam, Addeen Idrakie, Ong Sai Hung, Ryan Pasqual while Rachel Arnold, Chan Yiwen, Ooi Kah Yan and Lai Wen Li will carry the women’s challenge.
Malaysia have left out top-notch players like Ng Eain Yow, Ivan Yuen, Low Wee Wern, S. Sivasangari and Aifa Azman as they have a gentlemen’s agreement with the Sea Games Federation (SGF) to not field their elite squad in a bid to encourage the participation of other countries.