KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian squash team is feeling confident enough of snatching the four gold medals they have targeted for the Philippines SEA Games.
There are only five events that will be played at the biennial regional Games this year that starts from Nov 30-Dec 11.
And the national team have their eyes on four gold medals – the men’s singles, men’s team, women’s singles and women’s team events.
Malaysia will not participate in the fifth event – the mixed team event – in order to encourage participation from their SEA neighbours.
Men’s world No. 93 Addeen Idrakie will lead the men’s singles challenge and he will be joined by world No. 152 Darren Rahul Pragasam.
Both Addeen and Darren will also play a big role in the team event alongside Ong Sai Hung and Ryan Pasqual.
For women’s singles, Rachel Arnold will out for her second SEA Games singles gold medal after her success at the 2015 edition in Singapore.
She will be joined by Chan Yiwen, who will make her singles debut after only playing doubles in the 2017 edition.
In the women’s team, the Malaysian women are fronted by Rachel, Yiwen, Ooi Kah Yan and Lai Wen Li.
With the Malaysian players regularly playing on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour, there are lofty expectations on them to deliver the goods.
Singapore’s Samuel Kang and the Philippines’ Robert Garcia are however expected to provide a challenge in the men’s singles event.
Likewise in the women’s singles event, the hosts’ Jemyca Aribado is also seen as the main threat in preventing a Malaysian sweep.
It is also important to note that Team Malaysia will be eager not to repeat their mistakes in the 2017 KL Games.
Then, despite winning six gold medals, Malaysia still missed out on the men’s team gold, settling for the bronze instead.
“The target is four gold medals and hopefully two silver medals to go along with it. That however will depend on the draw of the individual events,” said national coach Shahril Shahidan.
“We are not overconfident but we are certainly confident enough by sending some of our best players.
“I think we certainly have a big chance of achieving our target but it’s really down to the players themselves to perform,” added Shahril.
The individual events will start from Dec 1-3. The team will have three days to recuperate before the men’s and women’s team events get underway from Dec 7-9.
Men’s Singles: Addeen Idrakie and Darren Rahul Pragasam
Men’s Team: Addeen Idrakie, Darren Rahul Pragasam, Ong Sai Hung and Ryan Pasqual.
Women’s Singles: Rachel Arnold and Chan Yiwen
Women’s Team: Rachel Arnold, Chan Yiwen, Ooi Kah Yan and Lai Wen Li.
Coaches: Ajaz Azmat and Shahril Shahidan Team Manager: Amran Chik