Life goes on and we are great friends.
One good day, I was approached by Sam and Non from Toys.Com squash group about an international friendly match. So they said British, and then Navy! I was excited yet worried. And right away my mind pictured very fit and muscular guests.
Well I was thinking it is not like we are going to war. It will be just fun squash games. Moreover, my players from the Sharon Wee Squash Pro Academy and most of the young university players (PST Squash UM) would be overwhelmed about this great opportunity. So I said, “Let’s do it”.
Being Malaysian, I must live up to the standard of being the very welcoming and warm host. On the morning of 12 March 2015, I stopped by the grocery store to get bananas and mineral water, made sure we had enough squash balls and that the courts were booked, and our team line up ready.
I have chosen players from different universities around Klang Valley and they were at National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil on time by 5pm. They really took the British Navy team seriously.
Then here we go, our strong opponents from 18 to 60 years old arrived. We gave a few speeches and welcome our international guests, wishing them a fantastic stay and great experience of squash in Malaysia. It is fun to know that there are Smudge, Spoon and some exciting names in their team. We had good laugh before the start of some serious matches.
As we expected the very fit 14 members of the Royal Navy Squash Rackets Association (RNSRA) team with the only rose in it, Lieutenant Danielle Hancock Royal Navy (Ladies Team Captain) started strongly. I reminded our top players Raja Adam (International Islamic University Malaysia), Shyan Kwan (Taylor’s University) and Fong Min Han (University of Malaya) to lead by example. The Malaysian team needed some extra boost especially in the head.
Hours of battles, we end up having a great laugh, great sportsmanship and great new friendships. It was not really about the win. Although for some, when ego kicks in, it does matter…. The host got away this time. But we are sure our beloved guests would come back strongly very soon in the future.
Commander Steven Shaw (Chairman of RNSRA) expressed his gratitude of the great hospitality from all clubs in Malaysia, Royal Lake Club, Lake View Club, Sharon Wee Squash Pro Academy, Toys.Com, Penang Sports Club, Nicol David International Squash Centre, and the Royal Malaysian Navy. The British Navy too, welcome the Malaysian to Britain for squash anytime soon.
"The Malaysian people have been incredibly generous with their hospitality. The warmth of the reception and the welcoming, friendly and ever present smiles from everyone we have come in contact with is remarkable, and underscores why Malaysia is such a great country. I have been asked why I chose Malaysia for our tour. Other than the great Squash, the simple answer is that I have been here as a student and several times since with Royal Navy ships, and every visit has brought fond memories and a desire to return to one of my favourite countries in the world. To be here now engaged in Squash is a dream come true, for me and the rest of the team. Relations between the Royal Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy are very strong, go back many years and will endure," said Commander Stephen Mardlin (Royal Navy Tour Manager).
Welcome to Malaysia!
Tue Mar 24 2015
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