Getting into the Top 10 does not come overnight- Wee Wern Low

Image Credit: WSF

Wee Wern Low is a professional squash player from Malaysia. She’s national number 2 in rankings, has been into the Top 5 of World Ranking. British Junior Champion & 3 times Asian Junior Champion, Wee Wern spoke with us about the injury that’s keeping her away from active participation on squash courts and about the WSF Ambassador Programme.

Inspiration that brought you to Squash and popularity of squash versus other sports…

I actually started squash merely as hobby. Never in my wildest dreams i could imagine playing professional as my career. When I was 9, my mum gave me an option of tennis and squash. I picked squash because it is indoor and also I was very scrawny and didn’t have enough strength for a sport like tennis.

Career snippet…

Started as a hobby at 8, played a couple of tournaments at 10, starting winning international tournaments at 11, won my first Asian Junior Title at 15, won the prestigious British Junior Open Title at 18, broke the top 10 in the World at 22, carried the team to the finals of the World Championship at 24.

Top World Rankings and difficulties- competition associated…

It takes a lot of hard work & determination to get up there, not to mention patience. Getting into the Top 10 does not come overnight and it takes many consistent performances throughout the year. Staying up there means not having much room for bad losses at all.

A series of losses will definitely result in someone else moving up into the top 10.

This is just about tournaments, we have not even started about training regimes and sacrifices along the way!

Facilities, infrastructure and support system in Malaysia, compared to worldwide standards…

I think Malaysia has World Class facilities available in house. We have squash courts in every state in the country, a national centre with a four sided glass court and ample gallery area for spectators. We are also very fortunate to have funding from our government that enables us to travel around world to play tournaments at almost no cost to us players.

Coaches- their role in shaping up your career…

I will not be here today if not for my coach. When I started at the age of 8, my coach was Lianne David and I really enjoyed all my lessons and was eager for more. At the age of 11, I was selected to join the backup squad and was under Aaron Soyza. He is my coach until today and I owe it all to him. He has worked with me for 15 years and he too sacrificed a lot of his time, even weekends to coach me and making sure I do well.

One moment that you have in your eyes when you reflect back to your career…

Beating Nour el Sherbini in the World Women’s Team Championships in 2014. It was the first time Malaysia has ever made to the finals and Egypt was the top seed and defending champions.

Nicol David has just beaten Raneem el Weleily to give Malaysia a head start and it was up to me to deliver the winning point.

Career changing milestone moment…

Winning the British Junior Open Under 19. The British Junior is the most prestigious junior tournament and winning that gave me the confidence that I could be a top player in the World. I decided to take the plunge and turn professional after that title instead of pursuing a degree.

One moment you would like to go back and change…

Squandering four match balls against eventual World Champion Laura Massaro in the World Open in Penang, 2011. I was 2-1 up and 10-7 up in the 4th game but lost that match and Laura went on to be the World Champion that year. But all credit to Laura for the amazing comeback though!

One Player you found tough to compete against…

I can’t name one single player because every player in the top 15 are all very competitive. There is a reason why they are all tough because if not they would not be there in the first place!

All-time favorites from Squash…

Amr Shabana and Nicol David.

Obstacles which stopped you…

Giving up pursuing my degree even when I was offered scholarships from renowned universities from then US, people not believing I could break into the Top 10 if I didn’t leave my home and coach to train abroad with a well known coach and most recent, coming back from a surgery. I tore ACL and meniscus in April 2015 and I am working my way back.

WSF Ambassador Programme- your role…

I was approached by Andrew Shelley, CEO of WSF, if I could spare a week to be apart of the WSF Programme two years ago in Papua New Guinea. That was my first time getting involved. This is me second time being appointed as WSF ambassador to travel to Dalian and Macau.

I basically am a volunteer to take a week off, go to a foreign country where squash is not very popular to help the sport grow and create more awareness.

WSF Ambassador Programme- impacts on the sport…

I think it is a great initiative by the WSF. This also shows the IOC that squash is committed to assist other countries around the world grow in their respective places. Many of the countries WSF has visited has never seen top level squash players and to physically be there and show them, speak to them really encourages the players and association to improve.

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