KUALA LUMPUR: National squash coach Shahril Shahidan said strategic decisions made in the 2024 Asian Team Squash Championship men’s team final led to a triumphant performance as Malaysia emerged champions after edging Hong Kong 2-1 in a nail-bitting showdown.

Shahidan said the team made the right decision to place the right player in the final as he emphasised the importance of leveraging each player’s strength, citing the crucial role of Ng Eain Yow in securing a pivotal point.

He said a key tactical move was the inclusion of youngster Ameeshenraj Chandaran who is world number 130 over Mohammad Syafiq Kamal due to his youth and superior fitness level.

“We know Eain Yow can deliver one point, whereas Addeen’s (Addeen Idrakie) match will be 50/50. We decided to put Ameeshenraj because he has the advantage of being younger and having a higher fitness level, considering Tang (Tang Ming Hong) does not have a good fitness level.

“If we put Syafiq, it might be 70/30 in favour of Hong Kong because Syafiq lost 2-3 in their last two meetings,” he said after the final held in Dalian, Liaoning province, China yesterday.

At the same time Shahidan lauded the team’s overall performance, highlighting their dedication and courage.

“Overall the players played with all their heart and we were brave to put in a young player,“ he said.

The national men’s squad completed a championship sweep for Malaysia in the tournament after women’s team successfully reclaimed the title by dethroning holders Hong Kong 2-0 in the final earlier.

Eain Yow, national number one started the final brilliantly by overcoming Lau Tsz Kwan 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-8) but the score was then tied at 1-1 after Addeen lost to Henry Leung 1-3 (11-4, 7-11, 2-11, 7-11).

However, Ameeshenraj emerged as the nation’s hero by recovering from a first-set loss to defeat world number 88 Tang 3-1 (8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4).

It is the second title the national men’s squad clinched in the last three editions after emerging as champions in 2021.