From HOWARD HARDING
James Huang has made squash history by becoming the first player from Chinese Taipei to reach the final of a PSA World Tour event.
The 27-year-old from Taipei City, ranked 137 in the world, defied the seedings in the South Australian Open to make the final of the established PSA Challenger 5 event in Adelaide, before bowing out to favourite Mike Corren.
“To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t win the title this time,” said Huang. “But it really feels great that I finally made a final. It really means a lot to me.”
Huang is one of two Chinese Taipei members of the Professional Squash Association. “I was the first Taiwan player to join PSA – and, after five years, now I finally have Chen Sheng Kai, a younger Taiwan player, who decided to give it a try.
“I think it is all about the passion of Squash that made us decide to do this,” Huang continued. “We’ve never had a real coach or trainer to help us do all the training – everything has been learnt from overseas. We plan the training programme and do it alone.
“I train morning and afternoon on weekdays. But after that I need to coach squash at night and coach the whole weekend to gain money for my travel expenses.”
Huang joined the PSA in 2005 – and made his debut in the Buler Challenge Cup in February the following year in Hong Kong, where he lost in the first qualifying round. But in his next event, the NSC Satellite No1 in Malaysia, he made it through to the quarter-finals as a qualifier. Since then he has competed in almost 40 Tour events on all five continents.
“I first started playing squash when I was 12 at a club,” Huang added. “There weren’t many squash courts in Taiwan at that time. We started together, my parents and my older sister, firstly just for the exercise. We didn’t have a coach but we just really enjoyed playing squash with the members.
“I started training harder when I was 16 and had more time to play squash at college. After college, I decided to join PSA, encouraged by my father.
“Squash wasn’t popular when I started to play. But now it is getting better as more squash courts are being built at sports centres. Hopefully, I can get more kids to play squash in the future.
“My ambitions are to keep improving every day and make it into the top 100 world rankings,” explained Huang. “And to win a title, of course!
“But most of all, I hope my story can inspire more players from Taiwan.”
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