PETALING JAYA: The sports events have been called off, the fans are staying away, there are no ticket sales, no money and athletes are confined to homes. It looks bleak. How do they cope?

Just ask national No. 1 women’s squash player Low Wee Wern. She knows how it is to overcome tough odds. She has picked herself up and fought her way back after every fall.

She was down with dengue fever just three weeks before the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games but managed to make a full recovery in time to take part.

Wee Wern did well to reach the quarter-finals in both the women’s singles and doubles events.

Then, in 2016 she suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in her knee that required surgery and kept her out of action for 21 months.

While there were those who doubted if the Penangite would ever return to the courts again, she had no doubts and, thankfully, neither did those around her.

“What kept me going is the people that still believed in me despite everything I went through. My family, coach, physio and my sponsors who stuck by me when I couldn’t compete for 21 months.

“They didn’t give up on me and I was not about to give up on them and just walk away,” explained Wee Wern.

Against all the odds, the 29-year old made a strong comeback and won the 2018 Malaysian Open, just her second tournament after her lengthy injury lay-off.

Her fighting spirit and never-say-attitude is inspirational to all athletes, especially in these tough times.

Wee Wern acknowledged that it was frustrating not to be able to compete in tournaments but she called on all athletes to adhere to the rules and regulations imposed by the authorities to prevent the Covid-19 virus from wreaking further havoc.

“It’s not pleasant to try and recover from sickness like I did when I had dengue in 2014. So I will definitely try to avoid this virus,” she said.

As one of the most senior players in the national team, Wee Wern has urged teammates to take the positives from this unexpected extended break.

The world No. 24 said all players should do body weight exercises or circuit training as these were simple and could be done to prevent muscle loss at this time.

While it still remains uncertain as to when the players will be allowed to train and compete again, Wee Wern has set herself several targets to achieve when she is given the green light to return to competitive action.

“I want to make it back to the top five in the world rankings. I also want to win gold medals in the Asian and Commonwealth Games,” she said.

Wee Wern reached the career-high world ranking of No. 5 in October 2014. While reaching it again looks like a tall order, she has done the near-impossible before. So, never write her off.

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