Pakistan upset Malaysia to claim squash gold


GUANGZHOU: Aamir Atlas Khan avenged his singles final loss to Mohamad Azlan Iskandar as Pakistan won the men’s team title Thursday, preventing Malaysia from sweeping the Asian Games squash golds. But world number one Nicol David grabbed her fourth Asiad gold medal as she powered Malaysia to a 2-0 win over Hong Kong in the women’s team final.
It was only Pakistan’s second gold of these Games after the women’s cricket title. It was also their second squash gold since the racquet sport made its Asiad debut in 1998 when they won the men’s singles. “I feel really fantastic because I defeated Iskandar,” the 20-year-old Khan said after whipping his Malaysian rival 14-12, 15-13, 11-4.
“After losing to Iskandar in the singles, I was mentally down and thought to myself that we could not get to the gold medal. My coach taught me a few things to prepare myself mentally and physically. I don’t want to mention them because this is confidential.”
The squash team events were held for the first time at the Guangzhou Games. In the first men’s match against Malaysia, Farhan Mehboob breezed past 2002 and 2006 singles champion Ong Beng Hee 11-4, 11-4, 11-7.
Khan then went tit-for-tat against Iskandar to take the first two sets 14-12, 15-13.
He took the third set 11-4 when a visibly tired Iskandar dropped his racquet in a return effort.
In the women’s final, Low Wee Wern saw off 2002 Asiad women’s champion Rebecca Chiu 11-4, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9 in the first match.
David, who had already defended her singles crown, then defeated Annie Au 11-8, 11-7, 11-6 in a repeat of the women’s final.
The 27-year-old David added that she would keep on playing for “at least another five years.” “Hopefully I can push it for seven-eight years,” David said. “But this game is intense and I’ll really have to pay attention to recovery and keeping away from injuries.”
She added she would build a squash academy after her retirement and “try to develop girls’ squash not only in Malaysia but around Asia and the world.”