Highlights and Milestones of 2022

2022 – What a year it was!

2022 was a year to remember for Singapore Squash. Our community saw the return of many tournaments and events to the calendar as Covid-19 restrictions have been further relaxed early in the year, and our athletes have resumed competing in international tournaments around the world.

One of our goals in 2022 was to get more people trying out the sport – whether through novice events, or through outreach programmes, we are sharing the sport with many more people and widening the reach of squash in Singapore.

While we continue our outreach efforts, we have not yet received any news about a replacement squash centre for our beloved Kallang Squash Centre, and we will continue to fight for a place for our community to call home in the coming years. Our plight was highlighted by Channel News Asia (CNA) recently and in case you missed it, you can watch it here.

January – March

Kicking off the year was the Tech Mahindra Novice Tournament. With over 90 participants, the event was held across both Yio Chu Kang Squash Centre and Kallang Squash Centre in February.

Q1 - National Championships

The event was followed up by the MARIGOLD National Championships and the ONCOCARE National Junior Championships. The event saw Au Yeong Wai Yhann and Samuel Kang both clinch their fifth consecutive national championship titles in the Women’s and Men’s events respectively. In the junior event, we saw 14-year-old Ong Zhe Sim claim both the Girls’ Under-19 and Under-17 titles, and Edward Thng taking home the Boys’ Under-19 title.

We ended March 2022 with the MARIGOLD Masters’ Open which saw 62 entries across 3 events. The Men’s Masters 2 (Over 50) saw local veteran Victor Koh successfully defend his masters’ title. Tom Bilyard and Vicki He won the Men’s Masters 1 (Over 40) and Women’s Masters titles respectively.

April – June

The second quarter of the year featured our athletes participating in a series of international events. In line with our efforts to strengthen our players in both the Jumbo Doubles and International Doubles categories, we sent three pairs of players to compete in the World Doubles Champions in Glasgow, Scotland for the first time. Samuel Kang and Pang Ka Hoe were our best finishers, when both made it to the 9-16 playoffs.

Another first for our athletes, our boys’ team travelled to Qatar where they competed in AJSS Silver Event, the Qatar Junior Open. Justin Yap was the top finisher in the event, achieving third in the Boys’ Under-19 Category.

Wrapping up the first half of the year, the junior team travelled to Pattaya, Thailand to compete in the Asian Junior Individual Championships where 3 players finished joint-fifth in their respective categories.

At home, our team worked to reach out to more communities through squash. The Beat the Blues campaign was a fundraiser in collaboration with the Caregivers Alliance to draw attention to the importance of mental health and the benefits of sports like squash for our mental health. The campaign raised over $3000 towards supporting the mental health of caregivers in Singapore.

July – September

In July, the girls’ team had the chance to compete in the Dutch Junior Open, a European Squash Federation Grand Prix event. For most of the competing players, this was their first competition representing Singapore in Europe and was a valuable learning experience for all players. A team of five girls – our full-time athlete Lee Zi Fang, National Junior Champion Ong Zhe Sim, Vicky Lai, Aaliya Abo Al Thinin and Saiesha Ranjan gained first-hand experience of playing some of the world’s top junior athletes.

Q3 - Schools Squash

At home, we continued our efforts in expanding the reach of our sport in partnership with local squash academy Ultimate Squasher through school outreach programmes. Our 2022 programmes with CHIJ Katong and CHIJ Toa Payoh reached out to over 400 students, giving them a taste of our sport. Follow-up programmes were also created for CHIJ Toa Payoh giving more students an opportunity to try squash through their Physical Education (PE) lessons. We aim to do more of these sessions in 2023, reaching out to even more primary schools around the country.

Q3 NSL Finals

We also celebrated the end of the National Squash League. Back for the first time since 2019 due to Covid-19, the 2022 NSL season featured a shortened season and a new Novice division. The 2022 season featured over 700 players from 87 teams and 24 clubs competing in 10 divisions. New Pioneers were announced as the club champions of the year, winning 4 out of the 10 divisions.

Q3 - Squash Ball 1

The long-awaited Squash Ball took place in August and brought together 600 members of our squash fraternity in the biggest gathering of our community to celebrate the (belated) 50th anniversary of the Association. The guest of honour for the event was Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Eric Chua. The dinner heralded the start of a new era of squash, where we will work together to promote an inclusive squash community for everyone and all abilities.

Q3 - Squash Ball 2

A highlight of the evening was the awarding of the Lifetime Achievement Award to local squash legend Zainal Abidin. The award was received by Zainal’s sister on his behalf, and highlighted his achievements and contributions to the local squash scene, both as an athlete and coach. We have also embarked on a collaboration with children’s book illustrator Rilla Melati to write a storybook which celebrates Zainal’s legacy and hopes to inspire the next generation of squash players in Singapore.

Other activities during the evening featured our collaboration with local event technology company Digital Dream, Mixed Reality Squash where players can try squash in new ways using customised games and the help of a mixed reality platform. The project increases the accessibility of the sport by allowing people with disabilities to participate in the modified games. Our Paralympian swimmer Theresa Goh and journalist Dharmik Kaunder were the first to experience the system.

Q3 - MR Squash

During the September School Holidays, we sent a team of our junior athletes to compete in the Borneo Junior Open in Kuching, Malaysia. Our best performances in the competition came from Ong Zhe Sim and Vicky Lai who placed 3rd and 4th respectively in the Girls’ Under-17 category.

Locally, we promoted squash to several young children and their families through our Squash Open House and the Splash Paint Squash Project. Over 11 sessions held in both Kallang and Yio Chu Kang Squash Centres, we reached out to 110 young children and their parents to introduce our sport to them through beginner sessions run with the support of coaches from Ultimate Squasher.

To further increase the reach of our sport, we introduced Splash Paint Squash, a first-time for the squash scene, it allowed new and old players to get together and collaborate on an art project. The project was well-received by our community and was fully booked within a day.

October – December

Following on from the competitions in September, our national juniors now headed to the PBA Penang Junior Open, an Asian Junior Super Series (AJSS) Platinum event featuring some of the best juniors in the region. Our best performances in this competition came from Gracia Chua and Ong Zhe Sim who placed 3rd and 4th respectively in the Girls’ Under-17 category.

At the end of October, our senior team competed in the Asian Team Championships held in Cheongju, Korea. Both teams did commendably with the men’s team consisting of Samuel Kang, Aaron Liang, Marcus Phua and Timothy Leong finishing ahead of their seeding in 9th place.

The highlight of the year was November’s MARIGOLD Singapore Squash Open 2022, the first-ever PSA Gold event featuring both genders in the region. This historic event brought the 48 of the top players in the world to compete for a combined US$220,000 prize purse.

The event also provided opportunity for our TeamSG athletes to pit their skills against the very best in the world. National champions Samuel Kang and Au Yeong Wai Yhann, alongside Lee Zi Fang, participated in the event.

Q4 - PSA

After six days of intense competition, the finals were played to a full arena and with Minister of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Second Minister for Law, Minister Edwin Tong in the audience. World No. 3 Mohamed ElShorbagy of England and World No. 5 Joelle King of New Zealand took home their first Singapore Squash Open titles.

Squash fans were delighted throughout the week, getting to meet some of their biggest idols in real life. At the same time, we introduced squash to more new players through the Squash Festival held concurrently at the OCBC Arena which featured more Mixed Reality Squash, a mini court as well as goodie bags from our generous sponsor, MARIGOLD.


Q4 - SEA Cup

The year was capped off with a series of regional tournaments starting with the annual SEA Cup. The competition was held with the individual and team events in Johor Bahru, and the Jumbo Doubles event in Singapore. Our team of athletes performed extremely well in the Jumbo Doubles, finishing with a clean sweep of all titles in the Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed events.

In the KL Junior Open, an AJSS Platinum event featuring over 800 participants, we sent our largest contingent to date, featuring 23 national athletes across 7 categories. We ended the competition with 5 players finishing in the top 8.


Q4 - SJO

Immediately following the KL Junior Open was the ONCOCARE Singapore Junior Open, back for the first time since 2019. The event featured over 250 participants from 12 countries. Local players Naisha Singh and Ong Zhe Sim won the Girls’ Under-13 and Girls’ Under-17 categories respectively. As with tradition, our generous sponsor Dr Tay Miah Hiang from ONCOCARE supports local winners with a S$1000 award to local winners in any category.

The final tournament of the year was the Scottish Junior Open held in Edinburgh. Ong Zhe Sim battled the wintry conditions to take home her first European title and in the Girls’ Under-15 category to end the year on a high for Singapore Squash.