KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 ― Lack of opportunities in the national programme has left Sanjay Singh Chal with no choice but to go back home to Sarawak to further his career.
Sanjay, 24, burst unto the scene as a teenager and became one of the mainstays in the national squash setup for many years winning the 2015 SEA Games singles and team gold, and in 2017, won the mixed doubles gold with S. Sivasangari.
“I'll head back to work with at my dad's academy and help grow Sarawak squash,” said Sanjay who'll join hes dad Jewan Singh at the Jewan Singh Squash Academy in Miri.
“There aren't any jobs for me with SRAM and I want to work so I'll head back for the time being and help to grow Sarawak squash,” Sanjay told Malay Mail.
“I'd love to come back one day and help with the national juniors as I'm fresh out of playing so I can spar with them, advice them on what to do and not to do and I'm young enough to relate to them.”
Sanjay's joined Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) in 2010 (Form 3) as a promising youngster and has played with the likes of Ong Beng Hee, Azlan Iskandar and the current No. 1 Nafiizwan Adnan.
He took a year and a half to focus on squash after school then in 2014 became a University Malaya alumni and graduated this year with a Bachelors in Business.
Injuries in the past two years hampered his progress and Sanjay, who reached a career high ranking of 110 in 2015, had already started to look beyond his playing career. He had hoped to work with developing juniors in Malaysia but the sporting climate in the country is uncertain at its best.
Squash will struggle for funding once they're dropped from the Podium programme (a program that handles the elite athletes in Malaysia) as they streamline the costly project to focus solely on Olympic sports.
With his playing career over, Sanjay when asked what his proudest moment as a squash player was, gave a surprising answer.
“It'd have to be the World Men's team event in 2013.
“It's a big event and we finished eight out of 20 teams, losing in the quarterfinals to hosts France. At the time we had Ong Beng Hee and Azlan Iskandar doing Malaysia proud on the world stage and when I found out I'd be joining them and Asyraf Azan the feeling was incredible.
“It meant I was among the top four players in the country while still a teenager. I'll never forget the feeling of playing and winning with Malaysia.”
It won't be long before someone snaps Sanjay's services. He has a wealth of knowledge having been through the system for almost a decade.