By JANE BALL (Squash Mad Reporter)
Malaysian number one Sivasangari Subramaniam has been forced to pull out of their Commonwealth Games squad after suffering head injuries in a car crash.
The 23-year-old had been chosen as the Malaysian team’s flag bearer for the Games in Birmingham.
But she will now require treatment for the injuries she sustained on Sunday when the car she was in was involved in a collision with a lorry along the Maju Expressway. The 26 km-long expressway links Kuala Lumpur City Centre with the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Selangor.
The Kedah-born star, ranked 19 in the world, was rescued from the vehicle before it caught fire and was taken to the Putrajaya Hospital for treatment. According to a report by Kng Zheng Guan in the New Straits Times, she has undergone two surgeries and has stitches to a head wound but is in a stable condition.
The injury is a blow for Malaysia’s hopes of success in Birmingham, with Sivasangari enjoying the best form of her life and reaching a career-high position in the PSA Women’s World Rankings.
News of her accident prompted an outpouring of sympathy from the close-knit Malaysian squash community.
Kng Zheng Guan wrote: “I was shocked when I heard about it,” said former world No 5 Low Wee Wern. We read about accidents very often, but for it to happen to someone we know hits differently.
“I wish Sivasangari all the very best in her recovery. She is still young and has a long life ahead of her.
“I hope her parents and family will have the strength during this challenging time.”
World No 92 Lai Wen Li, who is one of Sivasangari’s closest friends, was equally stunned nd told Zheng Guan: “I visited her at the hospital, and she is much better now. Sivasangari is one of my closest friends. She has always been there through my ups and downs, and now I will be there for her.
“I know she’s a strong girl with good character, and I am confident she will get through this and recover as soon as possible.
“All I wish for her now is a speedy recovery, and I’ll be praying for her.”
Sivasangari will now miss the Birmingham Commonwealth Games from July 28-Aug 8, in which she was also chosen as the nation’s flagbearer.
Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director Major (Rtd) S. Maniam said: “Fortunately, she is stable now. She has a large gash on her forehead, a concussion, some nasal issues, and doctors are also suspecting a fracture although that needs further examination.
“The positive note is that she is awake and able to have conversations. The doctors are confident she will fully recover, although that may take some time.
“She will miss the Commonwealth Games. It is cruel as she’s entering the peak years of her career and has been playing well.
“But she’s a strong-willed person and has always shown resilience both in training and on the court. I hope she will come through this ordeal with flying colours.”
Sivasangari enjoyed a successful career in the US College Squash competitions, representing Cornell University in New York, where she was coached by Australia’s former world champion David Palmer.
Pictures courtesy of PSA and New Straits Times