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Friday, 13 October 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM

Ivan admits he’s still adapting to life without coach Beng Hee

KUALA LUMPUR: It is no secret that national squash player Ivan Yuen owes much of his success this year to coach Ong Beng Hee.

Under the former world No. 7’s tutelage, Ivan broke into the world’s top 40 before going on to claim his first national title in May.

But since Beng Hee parted ways with the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) to join Qatar Squash as head coach, Ivan’s form has taken a nose-dive too.

He only made the second round of the World Games in July and suffered early exits at the Macau Open and China Open last month.

World No. 41 Ivan, who now trains under Pakistani Ajaz Azmat, has blamed it on him still adapting to a new coach.

Ivan reckons that he is ready to challenge for honours – starting with the Ohana Malaysian Open at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil from Oct 16-21.

“Beng Hee quitting SRAM definitely affected me a bit and my form dropped a fair bit as well,” admitted Ivan.

“It’s never easy to switch coaches. We really have a lot to adapt to.

“But I also trust Ajaz. I trained under him when I was a junior and he knows my game as well as Beng Hee.

“I’ve stayed positive the past few months. I’m ready to show some results by hopefully winning the Malaysian Open.”

The Malaysian meet is back on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour following a two-year absence, with telco operators Ohana as the title sponsor.

The tournament is a PSA25 event, offering total prize money of US$25,000 (RM105,440) for men, and a PSA10 event (US$10,000; RM42,180) for women.

The fourth-seeded Ivan certainly stands a chance to win the title.

He should beat England’s Jaymie Haycocks in the first round to set up a likely quarter-final clash against Welshman Peter Creed.

National No. 1 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan is a potential semi-final opponent.

“All of us are excited to play on home ground. It means a lot to us that the tournament is back because we need this kind of support,” said Ivan.

The other Malaysian men in the fray are Ng Eain Yow, Mohd Syafiq Kamal, Mohd Addeen Idrakie, Elvinn Keo, Sanjay Singh Chal, Ong Sai Hung, Darren Rahul Pragasam, Ryan Pasqual, Mohd Farez Izwan, Mohd Hannan Tarmidi, Danial Nurhaqiem and Mohd Ezzri Nazri.