Rising squash stars Ameeshenraj Chandaran and Sanjay Jeeva have earned themselves spots in the Podium Programme, which is one of the eight initiatives under the Youth and Sport Ministry High Performance Framework to nurture and prepare national elite athletes to perform excellently in the international arena. This selection came after the witnessing of their athletic capabilities expressed in the World Team Squash Championships (WTSC) in Tauranga, New Zealand, where the Malaysian team, consisting of three players, had defeated Australia 2-0 and finished 11th in the WTSC on December 17, 2023. The promising performance of the Malaysian team gives great hope for the future of national squash players in the nation.
Major (rtd) S. Maniam, the coaching director of the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM), has expressed to NST, that both Ameeshenraj and Sanjay have performed exceedingly well in this international tournament. He expressed that both young athletes do indeed have a bright future in the sport, but they have to work tremendously hard and in a dedicated manner in order to achieve greater things. He stated that now that the boys have been granted a space in the Podium Programme, they will have more support to uplift them in the sport.
In New Zealand, promising Bristol-based Ameeshenraj had defeated his opponent Dylan Molinaro within 43 minutes, scoring 11-2, 11-7, 5-11, and 11-7. On his and his team’s performance in this international tournament, Ameeshenraj expressed in his Instagram caption that he felt honoured to have been given the opportunity to represent Malaysia on the international arena and that he was truly proud of his team’s efforts. Additionally, he stated that he hopes to learn from his experience at this competition and come back even stronger to the game. This rising star had previously won over Ireland in their opening Group A match at the men’s World Team Squash Championship in New Zealand. Ameeshenraj had also won the 2023 PSNS President’s Trophy tournament of the world tour.
As for the US-based Sanjay, this was his first time representing Malaysia on the international stage, and he expressed nothing but excitement and pride over the opportunity to do so in his Instagram post. He stated that winning 11th place has exceeded his expectations, and this win has given him new encouragement to achieve greater things in the future. Sanjay has won three satellite tournaments this year in the US while also contenting with some tough opponents in the sport to break into the world top 100, where he is currently ranked 93rd in the world. The rising star also won second place at the Costa Rica Open last month.
Source: News Straits Times