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Tuesday, 13 March 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM

SRAM: Scholarship a tool to keep players in the country

PETALING JAYA: The Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) see the scholarships offered to two of their brightest prospects, Ng Eain Yow and S. Sivasangari, as a shot in the arm.

The 20-year-old Eain Yow and the 19-year-old Sivasangari, both the men’s and women’s national No. 2, were recipients of the CIMB Founda­tion’s newly-minted CIMB Squash Academic Scholarship that is worth RM1.5mil.

SRAM president Huang Ying How hoped that would put a stop to the association’s dismal track record of losing talented youngsters to education in the United States.

“There’s no denying that we have a poor track record of players going to the US and then eventually decide not to continue in the sport,” said Ying How.

“If we were to lose the likes of Eain Yow and Sivasangari, it would definitely be a big blow to us.

“The two of them are very successful at their young age and they are already attracting offers from the best universities in the world.

“I believe that they are mainstays in the future, especially in multi-sport events such as the Common­wealth Games and the Asian Games.

“That’s why we spoke to CIMB Foundation, who then offered the scholarships. When players are not under a university’s scholarship, they will have more control of their own time and will be able to contribute in national team events.”

Ying How is also glad that both Eain Yow and Sivasangari have the option to focus on squash first before taking up the option to study.

“The scholarship was offered based on the trust we have with CIMB Foundation and the players don’t necessarily need to commit to it immediately,” said Ying How.

“The finer details of the scholarship contract is being discussed but for now both players are focused on the Commonwealth Games.

“Eventually if both players opt to pursue their studies as well, be it in the US or in England, we’re also prepared to provide them with long-distance conditioning coaching akin to Nicol David, which is essential for them to stay in top shape,” added Ying How.

Both players are gearing up for the Gold Coast Games which starts from April 4-15.

World No. 47 Eain Yow is part of the five-man team alongside Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan, Ivan Yuen, Mohd Syafiq Kamal and Sanjay Singh Chal.

World No. 45 Sivasangari joins Nicol, Rachel Arnold and 16-year-old Aifa Azman in the women’s squad.