Chua Man Chin can walk with his head help up high after finishing an impressive 11th at the recently concluded World University Championships in Birmingham, England. Man Chin, the highest world ranked Singaporean currently at 275, was the best performer of the entourage, which included his brother Chua Man Tong, Benedict Chan, and Singapore University Sports Council official Phyllis Mok who accompanied the team to Birmingham.
Man Chin was the only survivor beyond the last 32, before losing out to Malaysia’s former SEA Games gold medallist Sanjay Singh Chal 11-13, 5-11, 2-11. He had earlier beaten Switzerland’s Remo Handl 3-1 in a hard-fought match in the last 32 having come through the round with a bye.
In the 9-16 placing playoffs, Man Chin upset the form books to beat Aussie Rohan Toole, a player ranked nearly 50 places above him. He lost the next match to Argentine Federico Cioffi and then receiving a walkover in his final match to finish just outside the top 10.
Man Chin’s great run at the event should not have come over surprisingly, as the 20-year old has had a rather good year. Exactly a year ago, he was ranked 514 and since then, he has risen to his career high ranking of 275 – a whopping 239 places jump.
His best result of the season by far, was finishing runner up in the Western Australian Open, losing out to top seeded Aussie veteran Mike Corren, who holds the record of most number of PSA titles.
Man Tong and Benedict, meanwhile, did not have such a memorable time as both were struck by illness during the event. Both won their first round of 64 clashes in straight games, beating China’s He Xiaodong and Aussie Joseph Williams respectively.
However, the pair crashed ot in the next round. Benedict losing out to top seed and world number 25 Yip Tsz Fung of Hong Kong, and Man Tong falling to Croat Martin Kegal. Unfortunately, both had to withdraw from the placing matches due to their bout of severe flu.
Despite the misfortune, Man Tong was extremely positive of the experience:
“The World University Championships was amazing in terms of hospitality, organisation and of course, there was good squash, with the exposure to an abundance of different playing styles and standards, which served as a good gauge of where we stand internationally.”
“Man Chin did extremely well to achieve 11th position, but it was a pity that Benedict and myself fell ill. We definitely need more female players, because that was what we were missing to compete in the team event!”
This is not the first time team Singapore had featured in the event, as Man Tong was competing for the second time, having been two years ago together with Benjamin Sim and Jason Ho.
The World University Championships is a biennial multi-sport event organised by the International University Sports Association (FISU). Squash made its debut at the in 1996 at Maastricht, Netherlands and is this year, the sport celebrate its tenth appearance.
The competition at the event has been at a very high standard since its inception. Amongst the winners of this prestigious event include former world champions and world number ones; Thierry Lincou of France, Egyptians Karim Darwish, Ramy Ashour and Raneem El Welily.