Guyana’s leading lady in the squash arena Mary Fung – A – Fat is currently completing her second year as a professional athlete, with measured success as she continues to fulfil her childhood dream.
Fung – A- Fat, who cuts a petite figure but has a lion-hearted demeanor on the court, previously told this newspaper that she was willing to embrace the adventure of competing with the world’s best in the sport.
“It’s my second year on the Professional Squash World Tour, and… I’ve made small strides and got to the second round of the Simon Warder Memorial Tournament in Canada,” the 24- year-old national champion told Stabroek Sport in a recent interview.
“It’s a rewarding feeling,” she noted, adding, “to see the training that I’ve been putting in over the last year, starting to pay off. I’m looking forward to continuing working hard, and I’m excited to see where it’ll take me next.”
Her journey, however, has not been all smooth sailing as she has encountered a few hindrances although they have not dented her drive for success.
“The Professional Squash Association has implemented a change to their system this season which eliminates qualification draws from all tournaments. This makes it harder for players, just starting careers in squash like me, much harder.
“Players outside the top 50 that were once able to qualify for the bigger tournaments (this is, tournaments with more prize money and worth more ranking points) are now forced to enter smaller ones, pushing the lower-ranked newcomers out of the small tournaments.
“Therefore, it is difficult for players like me to get into any tournaments as they are now fewer and further away,” the national squash champion said.
She also alluded to the cost associated with getting to the tournaments.
“The most challenging piece of the puzzle is the cost factor to get to the few tournaments that I am actually eligible to play now, but if I can get to those venues, it would undoubtedly help my ranking.”
According to Fung-A-Fat, during her Commonwealth Games experience earlier this year, she observed that there needs to be a mechanism established to financially assist herself and other Guyanese who desire to make professional sport their focus.
Now, as the season tapers off, Fung-A-Fat disclosed that she would use the six-week break to continue elevating her game to match what is required to compete in the international circuit before the season recommences in January.
When asked, Fung-A-Fat said she is excited to perform in front of her friends and family at the 2019 Caribbean Squash tournament.
“Definitely! CASA was one of the tournaments that sparked my love for the game and to have it at home will be a treat. I’m also looking forward to the Pan-American Games in Peru next July which our Ladies Team qualified for in Cayman (for the first time) this past August. Next year will be an exciting one.”