HANGZHOU, Sept 30 — The national women’s squash team put on a classy display to wrest the Asian Games team title by stunning reigning champions Hong Kong 2-1 in the final today.
But it was the top-seeded Hong Kong who drew first blood when they scored the first point in the nail-biting final at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Squash Court.
Credit to Malaysia’s world number 32 Rachel Arnold for giving it everything in a 50-minute titanic tussle against Tong Tsz Wing before going down 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 6-11.
However, world number 36 S. Sivasangari rose to the occasion to produce a dominant performance en route to routing Ho Tze Lok 11-5, 11-8, 11-6 to level the points.
That set the stage for 21-year-old Aifa Azman to get the job done and the world number 23 did not disappoint as she outplayed Chan Sin Yuk 11-5, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8 to deliver the country’s third gold in the Hangzhou Asian Games.
The Malaysian girls qualified for the final after eliminating South Korea 2-0 in the semi-finals yesterday.
Malaysia, led by former great Datuk Nicol David, won the gold in Guangzhou in 2010 when the team event was introduced and repeated the feat in the 2014 edition in Incheon, South Korea.
Malaysia, however, had to be satisfied with just the bronze medal in the 2018 edition in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia after losing to India in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, the national men’s team failed to defend the gold medal they won in the 2018 edition after losing 2-0 to India in the semi-finals yesterday and had to be contented with bronze this time.