Hong Kong women go undefeated to reclaim Asian team squash title
- Quartet beat defending champions Malaysia in tense final in Korea, where they also won gold 4 years ago
- But men’s side can’t get into last two and finish third after losing to Kuwait
The Hong Kong women’s squash team reclaimed their Asian Team Championships title in Korea on Friday, gaining some measure of revenge against Malaysia, who beat them last year.
Hong Kong, who entered the tournament as the second seeds, were undefeated, with top players Simmi Chan Sin-yuk and Ho Tze-lok, as well as reigning Asian women’s champion Tong Tsz-wing and Lee Ka-yi providing formidable opposition.
The quartet blasted past India, Iran and Singapore in the group stage without dropping a game, and then outplayed the hosts in the semi-final in Cheongju.
Their first real test came in the final against top seeds Malaysia, who have won the championships 10 times and count world No 28 Rachel Arnold among their number.
Arnold though was no match for Chan, who is ranked six places below her, and while Ho lost a close tiebreaker, Lee saw off Malaysian teenager Yee Xin-ying as Hong Kong claimed the title for a fourth time.
“It [victory] was very special for two reasons,” Ho said. “First, Malaysia beat us in the final last year on their home soil, and we beat them to reclaim our trophy a year later.
“Second, we won the title four years ago in the same place [Cheongju] on the same court.
“At the time, our two squash seniors [Annie Au Wing-chi and Joey Chan Ho-ling] carried us all the way, but now, after their retirement, we can still top the Asian teams, which makes me very happy. It showed that we, too, could do it.”
Hong Kong’s men also went unbeaten in the group stages, beating Iran, the Philippines, and Singapore 3-0, before falling 2-1 to a lower-ranked Kuwait side in the last four.
The men, who won the title in 2018, lived up to their billing as third seeds, matching their result from last year.
“We are delighted to win the women’s event and although disappointed not to make it to the final match in the men’s event we have had a positive week with the players,” Peter Genever, the said.
“This was a valuable experience ahead of Asian Games next year and highlighted some areas where we are doing well and some areas where we need to keep improving. For the women it will give them a confidence boost as they prepare for the Hong Kong Open which they are already very excited to be playing in again.”