Exclusive: One on One with Low Wee Wern

It isn’t surprising that most Malaysians connect squash with Nicol David in general, considering the sort of impact she’s had on the World squash scene. But if you look a little closer, there is another significant talent that has been scaling impeccable heights over the past few years. Low Wee Wern broke into the international scene via the junior circuit, but her rise in prominence saw her achieve a career high world ranking of 5th earlier this year. But besides that, she was a pivotal part in the various achievements of Malaysian squash throughout the globe this year, and FourthOfficial.com caught up with for a quick chat on everything squash.

FO: Hi Low Wee Wern! Thanks for speaking with us! Congratulations on a terrific 2014! What was it like to reach a career high world ranking of No. 5 back in October?

LWW: 2014 has been a pretty good year for me, reaching my career high ranking of 5th, making the finals of the Asian Games, winning the Team Gold and also helping Malaysia finish 2nd in the World Women Team Championship. It was a dream come for true me. I remember watching the top girls play in professional tournaments and I wanted to be like them. Sometimes it still feels like a dream! But its not over yet, I still want to get the number 1 spot

FO: Fantastic stuff! In what sense have you improved as a player over the course of the last 12 months?

LWW: I think I’ve gain more experience by playing more tournaments and also being up there with the best players in the world. One thing for sure is that I’ve become more consistent in my game and that helped me move up the ranks. I can perform at the top level day in and day out and not just for a single match.

FO: You were part of the Malaysian squad that made the finals of the Women’s World Team Championship, before suffering a frustrating loss in the final. What was the hardest part about that run?

LWW: The hardest part? It’s that we were so close yet so far! I knew we had a good chance, we all knew that with Nicol being ever reliable as our number 1 and me being in the best form of my career. It was disappointing to lose in the finals, to say the least, but we were a great team and beating top seeds Egypt was massive for us! I guess being number 2 in the world is not too bad but we will be back!

FO:  It goes without saying that Nicol David is a living legend, as far as Malaysian sports is concerned. Considering that you work closely with her, could you shed some light on what makes her the unstoppable force that she is today?

LWW: What Nicol has achieved is truly remarkable and she is not done yet. Nicol is just so driven and she knows what she wants in life. Obviously all the hard work needs to be done too but she is just so passionate about her dream and is willing to do whatever it takes to get there. Of course, that is always easier said than done.

FO: Your thoughts on the development of squash within the country? Where do you think it can be improved?

LWW: With Nicol being the perfect role model, yes squash is growing in the country. We do have younger talents making waves in the junior scene but somehow as they get older, most of them just tend to fade away. We have a massive pool of kids, juniors but only a handful end up playing professional squash and turn it into a career & getting somewhere in terms of world rankings. Something has to be done to get the juniors to want to make squash a career; a pathway of some sort with aid along the way, be it sponsors or funding.

FO: Both you and Nicol come from Penang; is that a mere coincidence or a clear indication of the good ground effort that is being channeled into talent development within the state?

LWW: Penang has a good group of coaches who are extremely close knitted and dedicated. We have a squash academy called Squash Academy of Penang and they have produced top talents within the country. Kids as young as six years-old can enrol and join the academy and there are coaches to groom them. As they get older, two elite coaches, Aaron Soyza (My coach since i was 12 until now) and Khoo Teng Hin will look into the kids closely and work with these kids too. We do have sponsors who help fund the academy and to keep it running as well.

FO: With 2014 being amazing, what are you specific aims and aspirations for 2015?

LWW: My target for 2015 is to break into the top 3 bracket. There are no major games (Asian Games or Commonwealth Games) next year so its mainly just the professional circuit for us squash players. And of course, to secure a couple of major sponsors!


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