USA: Beng Hee, from Qatar to Philadelphia
I love Beng Hee. Always did. Since a junior, throughout his career. I saw him up, failing, reinventing himself, lob droping the World of Squash for more than a decade. And it’s such a pleasure to see him now at the level of recognition he truly and utterly deserves. It’s not often that a good and honest guy gets to the top of the Tree. Well done USA.
How did it all happen? How did he come from being the Qatar Coach to the King of the Arlen Specter Center?
“Well”, he smiled, “Qatar gave me a great opportunity, a huge stepping stone, they bettered my education, allowed me to become a better administrator, they opened my eyes on a lot of things, as squash players, we are often only in our little world.
“When the US opportunity arose, I talked with my family about it, the changes it would mean for our lives, our girls, with schools and so on. I guess it was just the right time to try something new, I always like to challenge my own career, see how far I can go. It just fell into place.
“I got really lucky, COVID slowed things down, everything stopped for a little while, the whole interview process took quite a while. A lovely change of environment I guess.”
Now, working with the US top players could be a challenge for Beng Hee as they all have their own coaches, but it’s quite the reverse.
“The four women are so professional, over established already, I’m actually learning from them as well. I hope I can bring some stability in the team as the set up in the US Squash Association is completely different from the rest of the world. We never had a full time coach before, so my job is to work with their own individual coaches.
“My role as I see it is to bring a stability to the Association and to provide a service to all those players. The new generation of players who are joining us are able to see what is expected of them, how to do it properly, not to be left on their own to fend for themselves. They do that already on the tour for half the year.
“So I’m hoping to bring a nurturing training environment, it’s so important to have a daily communication, to feel that they are supported, these four are the role models, so professional, we have a couple of coaches as well.
“We have a lot of juniors, but at the moment, everyone is targetting the Ivy League at the moment. That is a challenge that we have. But at the same time, a lot of very talented players actually come out of there, like Timothy Brownell now, graduated from Harvard, from 130 in the world, he is top 50 now. And we want them to feel we can help them NOW, as they come out of their studies around 23, 24 years old, and they need our support right away.
“So we are reaching out to those juniors, and we also have some fantastic juniors coaches, not just at club level, so many good coaches around, so it’s my job to organise it all, while learning from them as the American Culture is very different…”