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ARKIB : 06/04/2000

Siu Lynn Gets Father's Blessing To Play For Foreign Country

KOTA BHARU April 5 - The father of national squash player Leong Siu Lynn has given his blessing for her to represent any foreign country particularly the United States in future in the interest of her career.

Leong Eng Keat, 42, said he was no longer bothered by what other people were saying with regard to his decision and he described the latest situation as "something unfortunate" for squash sport in Malaysia.

"My daughter has contributed much for the country by sacrificing her future in education, but what did she get in return after almost 10 years sacrificing for the nation?" he told reporters here today.

Eng Keat, who appeared sad, felt that the Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) completely ignored Siu Lynn after her performance deteriorated slightly during the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur two years ago.

He described her eldest daughter's situation now as someone who had been forgotten after she was no longer of any use.

Siu Lynn, 19, is now studying in a high school in New York since January.

What was even more sad, said Eng Keat, was the fact that no organisation in this country was paying for Siu Lynn's education there although she used to be the best player ever produced by SRAM.

"Imagine how I felt as a father...after Siu Lynn had to leave school for two years merely to concentrate on the Commonwealth this the reward received by my daughter? Is my daughter no longer patriotic to the country?" asked Eng Keat.

On the contrary, all costs for Siu Lynn's education at the school amounting to US$40,000 for two years were being borne by the school authorities based on her outstanding record in the sport.

"They are more appreciative of Siu Lynn. This makes me sad," he said.

According to Eng Keat, his daughter was once promised a place of study in England by former SRAM president Datuk Alex Lee but after Lee's death, the offer was never extended to her by the parent body.

He said Siu Lynn, who is still actively playing squash in New York, had assisted her school to become champion at the school level in the United States two weeks ago compared to the eighth position achieved by the school before her admission.

He said his daughter was now very happy with her life and asked that no one disturbed her by asking her to represent Malaysia at the moment.

Eng Keat also expressed his sadness for not being invited or informed that Siu Lynn's name was also listed as one of the players in the National Women's Team category at the 1999 National Sports Award ceremony at Subang Jaya, two nights ago.

At the award ceremony, the national squash team won in the National Women's Team category while women's singles player, Nicol David won the National Sportswoman title.

Siu Lynn represented the country since she was 12 and had once emerged as the Australian Junior Champion.

Her best achievement at the international level was winning the Asian Junior Championship in Jordan and she had previously been named as Kelantan's Sportswoman for three times.

In December, Lynn emerged as champion in the US Open Junior Championship.

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