Squash star concerned about terrorism
Gary Baker on 13/12/2006
TEGWEN MALIK could turn down one of two chances to play major squash in America at the start of next year because she is concerned about a terrorist threat to air travel.
Swansea 31-year-old Malik was due to take part in the Apawamis Open in Rye, New York, which starts on January 3 but is set to turn it down for fear of something happening to her plane.
Malik said: "I'm a little bit nervous with it. I've entered two but I will just go for the one, I think. I saw on the news that there was inside information given out about threats and saying that attacks were imminent on American Airlines.
"It was around New Year and I have to fly out on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. The first is in Apawamis and I have to fly to New York and then get on a bus for an hour.
"The other one is later in Greenwich (New York) on the ninth. If don't go to Apawamis, I'll be training so I won't miss anything."
But Malik is on the upward curve at the moment even though she had to withdraw from last month's Welsh Closed Championships at the Vale of Glamorgan Hotel, Hensol.
She suffered a knee problem which was aggrivated in the first round of the championships but flew out to Oslo and Monte Carlo the following week and performed wonders.
On December 2 in Oslo, the Welsh ace was runner-up to New Zealand's Shelley Kitchen, going down 3-1 but grabbing vital ranking points out of it.
Then she flew straight to Monte Carlo and secured another massive scalp on her way to the semi-finals by beating 24-year-old world number nine Jenny Duncalf, of Harrogate, losing just six points in the 3-0 thrashing. Malik eventually lost in the semis to world number four Natalie Grinham, from Australia.
Malik said: "I lost to the girl that won it in that match and I thought I played really well and I learnt a lot from the experience. I'm playing well now and I'm enjoying it a lot too. It has been a great period for me."
And it all the more remarkable because Malik was rushed to hospital earlier in the year after returning from a tournament in India feeling unwell.
She added: "I was ill when I had kidney stones which was so painful, it was unbelievable. Somebody said that it was supposed to be more painful than giving birth!
"I was in Singleton Hospital and it took me about a month to recover. Luckily, I had just come back from a tournament in India. I went to see my GP before I went because I thought I had a water infection so I took some antibiotics. They said it wasn't a water infection and just drink plenty of fluids and it will pass.
"What I didn't want to do was be ill in India but I went and played well but I didn't feel right. Afterwards, when I got home, I didn't do anything for a good few days and that is very unusual for me because I like to do things all the time.
"I fell ill and I felt sick. In the end, I could not move. My GP tried getting me into Morriston Hospital but I was so bad that I just wanted to get to Singleton Hospital because it is just a few minutes from where I live and they discovered what was wrong."
But those results in Norway and the 'millionaire's paradise' have boosted her rankings a lot. Malik is looking forward to a great 2007 on the global professional circuit and said: "I'm at 24 now but I hope to break into the top 20 in the rankings. That's my aim.
"The rankings are done on a month-by-month basis and, after my last two tournaments, I think I may do that when the next ones are published. Then I have to aim to get higher and look towards the top ten."
And, after a year which has also included appearing for Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, an extended festive period with the family, if her flying concerns get the better of her, will do Mal
back to article index