After five days of top level squash winners of the finals of Buler Asian Team Championships last Sunday June 15 were Pakistan for the men and Malaysia for the women.
It was no surprise that Malaysia won the Women’s competition having a team comprising World No.1 Nicol David, LowWee Wern (7) and Delia Arnold (39). But what was surprising was that Hong Kong got through to the Final after its No.1 player Annie Au withdrew before the start of the competition due to injury. This moved Joey Chan to play the lead role followed by Liu Tsz Ling and Tong Tsz Wing with Chu Man Yee coming in to complete the four person team. Hong Kong won each of their Pool-B matches including their match against India the second seed team, to head the Pool—this was a superb achievement.
Beating India in the Pool stage was very important as it allowed Hong Kong to play Japan in the Semi-final on Saturday June 14, while India had to play top seed Malaysia. Hong Kong and Malaysia won those matches to move into the Final.
Although Malaysia won the Final tie 2-0, with Low Yee Wern beating Liu Tsz Ling 3-0 (11-5, 11-2, 11-7), Joey Chan played out of her socks to take the 3rd game off Nicol David. David finally won the encounter 11-3, 11-2, 7-11, 11-6 to take the Championship for the Malaysia team.
In the men’s tournament Hong Kong was unfortunate to have Kuwait with them in Pool-D. Although Hong Kong beat the other two teams (China and Chinese Taipei) in their Pool convincingly 3-0, they lost their match against Kuwait on Day-1 (1-2).
Leo Au won his match 3-0 against Ammar Altamimi but Hong Kong’s No.1 Max Lee played and lost to a very talented player Abdullah Almezayen and leaving Yip Tsz Fung to play Aliu B Alramezi. The first two games were very close, but they were both edged by the Kuwaiti 12-10 and 15-13. Alramezi took the 3rd game 11-3 to win 3-0 and clinch the tie.
According to ex-Hong Kong No.1 and coach Faheem Kahn, Almezayen was the best racquet player in the competition, but he does not take squash that seriously and does not play many competitions—but for Hong Kong that was a real setback. Finishing second in Pool-D gave them a tough Quarter Final match against Malaysia which although close Malaysia won 2-0 to take them into the Semi-final to play the top seeded team India.
Malaysia beat India 2-0 while No.2 seeded team Pakistan beat Kuwait by the same margin in the other Semi-final.
Pakistan won the final 2-1. Mohd Nafizwan Mohd Adnan of Malaysia beat Farhan Zaman 3-2, but Ong Beng Hee lost to Nazir Iqbal 1-3 and at No.3 position Farhan Mehboob put up a storming performance to beat Ivan Yuen Chee Wern of Malaysia 3-0 to win the tie 2-1 and Championship for team Pakistan