Asia player of the year Leo Au spearheads Hong Kong challenge at regional squash team championships

Both the men and women are seeded No 1 for the tournament in Taipei

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 May, 2016, 7:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 May, 2016, 7:34pm

Newly crowned Asia player of the year Leo Au Chun-ming will spearhead a strong Hong Kong team at the regional squash championships in Taipei on May 11-15.

I am more consistent on the tour and don’t crack under pressure easily
Leo Au

The 26 year-old picked up the Dato Alex Lee Award for 2015, given by the Asian Squash Federation for the player with the most outstanding performances.

Au, ranked 26th in the world, will be joined by teammates Max Lee Ho-yin, Yip Tsz-fung and Tang Ming-hong in the 14-team event while the women’s squad will be headed by world No 10 and elder sister Annie Au Wing-chi. Joey Chan Ho-ling, Liu Tsz-ling and Ho Tze-lok complete the women’s team.

Eight teams will feature in the women’s event which includes regional powerhouses Malaysia and India.

Hong Kong have never won the men’s team title while the women’s team were crowned regional champions in 2000 and 2010. Both teams are seeded No 1 for the tournament starting on Wednesday.

“I am quite happy with my recent performances. I am more consistent on the tour and don’t crack under pressure easily,” said Leo Au. “I am sure I will be a target for other teams in the Asian Championships after winning the award. “It won’t give me extra pressure ... it will push me to work harder.

“Of course, we are targeting a medal because we are the top seeds. It will be great if we can stand on top of the podium.”

Sister Annie, the first world top-10 player from Hong Kong, said her brother made great progress last year.

“Before I always saw him playing in the qualifying rounds of major tournaments but now he is in the main rounds and competitive against many top players,” she said. “I am proud of him because it is not easy achieving what he does in the men’s event, which is highly competitive.”

Hong Kong will be in pool A in the men’s section where they will meet Qatar and Iraq. The top two from each of the four pools will advance to the quarter-finals. The women’s team is also in pool A, along with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The top two will qualify for the last eight.