Samuel Kang and Wai Yhann win five National Squash Championships in a row

Samuel Kang created history this afternoon when he won his fifth National Squash Championships in a row after producing a commanding display to see off arch-rival Aaron Liang in straight games at the Kallang Squash Centre. His win today broke the previous consecutive titles record shared between himself and Singapore legend Zainal Abidin Malik, who won four in a row in 1979-1982.

Samuel, who was stretched by Aaron in the previous two finals they played in, was in ruthless form today, winning 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 in 36 minutes. He made a blistering start in the first game, racing to a huge 10-3 lead before taking the lead in eight minutes.

The 32-year-old continued his fine run in the second, raking in six consecutive points at the start for a commanding 6-1 lead. While Aaron fought back to within a point at 7-6, Samuel used his experience to close out 11-8 in a much closer contested game.

It was a similar situation in the third, when Samuel took five points in a row from 3-2 to race to a 8-2 lead before closing it out in 14 minutes to create history and claim his sixth overall national title, which is still five short of the record of 11 national titles by Zainal Abidin.

“Amazing! Never imagined from my first nationals that this would be possible. Very thankful to all the team mates, coaches that helped me on the way”, Samuel said when asked how it feels to win five in a row.

While it was a straight games win, Samuel was quick to point out it was no easier than the previous two times. He said, “Just like the last two times, it was a very tough match. Looking at the duration and also quality of the rallies, both of us are working very hard. So even though the score line is based on 3 games, it was physically very tough. It is always with Aaron - his playing (style) is very fast paced, accurate, so it is always a tough game against him.”

Like Samuel, Au Yeong Wai Yhann also won five in a row today after defeating youngster Gracia Chua in an even more ruthless fashion. She went straight into overdrive from the start, taking a commanding 9-0 lead before winning 11-1 with some heavy hitting that kept Gracia pretty much in the back quarter of the court the entire time.

Gracia shook off her obvious nervousness in the first game and did much better in the second game. She managed to move Wai Yhann around the court a lot more with a lot more variety to her shots. However, it was the more experienced Wai Yhann who took control of the big points to win 11-6 to extend her lead.

In the third, Gracia took her first and only lead in the match when she went 2-0 up, before Wai Yhann took control to win seven consecutive points to 7-2 and eventually wrapping up the match in just 26 minutes.

A jubilant Wai Yhann, who earned 50 points to count towards her world ranking from her win today, could see her break into the world’s top 150 next month. When asked how it is to win for a fifth time, she said:

“Feels really great, really happy. Today I managed to play the game I wanted to play. Yesterday was a bit nervy. So today I just went in telling myself to just relax, I have been training really hard back in Bristol, so just stay calm and play the game I want to play.”

The difference in her game compared to her last event on home soil in December was obvious, which she later explained, “After I went back to Bristol in December, I was practising a lot on the basic game and playing at a higher level with the players there - they are really fast paced and consistent.

“So having to keep up with that and also compete at that level, I think coming back here, my lines were a lot more consistent and deeper today.

“I have been working a lot on my match composure - so just trusting my abilities and playing the game I want to play rather than what the opponent would do.”

With today’s win, Wai Yhann is just three short of the record eight consecutive titles held by Joannah Yue over the years of 2003-2009.


RESULTS
Finals & Semi-Finals
Men’s Premier Final
[1] Samuel Kang
[2] Aaron Liang

11-5, 11-8, 11-5 (36m)

Women’s Premier Final
[1] Au Yeong Wai Yhann
[2] Gracia Chua

11-1, 11-6, 11-3 (26m)

Men’s Premier Semi-Finals
[1] Samuel Kang
[3/4] Chua Man Tong

11-6, 11-6, 11-5

Men’s Premier Semi-Finals
[2] Aaron Liang
Pang Ka Hoe

12-10, 11-4, 11-5 (27m)

Women’s Premier Semi-Finals
[1] Au Yeong Wai Yhann
[3/4] Ong Zhe Sim

11-3, 11-5, 13-11 (23m)

Women’s Premier Semi-Finals
[2] Gracia Chua
[3/4] Vicky Lai

11-6, 11-7, 12-10 (31m)

Click Here for Full Draws and Results of the MARIGOLD National Squash Championships 2022

,