Pinoy squashers confident of golden haul in 2017 SEA Games

By ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 02, 2016 04:40 PM

No doubt, we can garner the gold in 2017 and perhaps, more in 2019 -- Robert Bachmann, president of the Squash Rackets Association of the Philippines (SRAP).

The success of the Philippine team to the recent 2nd South East Asian Cup Squash Championship will go a long way in its bid for a historic first ever gold medal in next year’s staging of the Southeast Asian Games.

Robert Bachmann, president of the Squash Rackets Association of the Philippines (SRAP), said the one gold, one silver, and two bronze medals the Filipinos won in the Jan. 11-17 meet in Nay Phi Taw, Myanmar, is definitely a big boost to their campaign in the 2017 edition of the biennial meet to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Filipino squashers won three bronze medals when the sport returned to the SEA Games in Singapore last year. It was the most medals the country won in squash event since it was first played in the meet in 1991.

“No way we’re going lower than a bronze,” said Bachmann in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum Tuesday at Shakey’s Malate. “The gold and silver (medals) are achievable.

“No doubt, we can garner the gold in 2017 and perhaps, more in 2019.”

The tandem of Jemyca Aribado and Yvonne Dalida provided the lone gold for the country in the Myanmar meet by topping the women’s jumbo doubles. The men’s jumbo doubles of Robert Garcia and David Pelino accounted for the Filipinos’ silver medal, while Aribado (women’s individual) and the mixed team tabbed the two bronze medals.

All medalists joined Bachmann, Macmac Begornia, and coach Jaime Ortua in the public sports program presented by San Miguel Corp., Accel, Shakey’s, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

The Filipino squashers finished third overall in the tournament topped by Singapore which won two golds, two silvers, and three bronzes. Other countries which saw action were Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar.

Aribado and Dalida beat the same Singapore pair which defeated them in the last staging of the SEA Games.

“We had so much fun. Hindi kami makapaniwala na naka-gold kami because we don’t have jumbo doubles here in the country,” Aribado said.

At the moment, Bachmann said the lack of squash centers in public where every enthusiast can play is one major concern the federation is trying to address to help Filipinos understand and at the same time, enjoy playing the game.

At the moment, there are 30 squash courts in the country, although most of them are located inside private clubs.

“To create squash centers, that’s the key (in propagating the sport),” said Bachmann, son of the late Philippine Hall of Famer Kurt Bachmann and brother of Alaska board of governor and team manager Dickie Bachmann.

Still, that doesn’t inhibit SRAP from setting its sight of winning a gold in the Kuala Lumpur Games.

“(Win a) first gold. That has never been done before,” said Bachmann.

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