Aiming High: Jun Qian’s Ambitions Beyond the Squash Court

March 1, 2024

At the tender age of 5, Tay Jun Qian’s affair with squash commenced on the courts, a father-son bonding ritual that planted the seeds of a lifelong passion. Fast forward to 9, formal training set the stage for a promising career as a national player in Malaysia.

Tay Jun Qian emerged victorious at the CIMB National Junior Circuit in Selangor, clinching the championship title in September 2023.

Now, amid his second semester pursuing a Foundation in Business at INTI International College Subang (IICS), Jun Qian reflects on the trials of juggling academics and athletics, a feat particularly challenging during his SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) year. Recounting those demanding times, he shares, “During my SPM year, I had to balance my focus between studies and squash. Initially, I prioritised my squash training before SPM. However, six months before the exams, I started cutting back on my squash time and shifted my focus more towards studying.”

Crafting a well-organized timetable became Jun Qian’s weapon of choice in managing his dual responsibilities. “I always maintain a timetable to organise my daily training and studies, which helps me know what to prioritise,” he explains, stressing the importance of this strategy in keeping him on course with his objectives.

For Jun Qian, mastering the art of time management has been paramount to his achievements. “Juggling my squash commitments and education requires a lot of skilful time management,” he acknowledges. “Education has taught me to organise my schedule effectively, ensuring I allocate enough time for studying and training.”

Tay Jun Qian represented Malaysia at the Asian Junior Squash Individual Championships in Dalian, China, in August 2023, achieving a top-16 finish.

Jun Qian adopts a focused approach during competitions, directing his energy solely towards his matches. “As for my studies, I adjust my study schedule based on the timing of my matches, ensuring I have enough time to prepare before or after the match,” he adds.

Yet, like any athlete, Jun Qian hasn’t been immune to moments of despair. “I felt down when I didn’t see improvement in my squash game and when my academic performance wasn’t as good as I hoped,” he admits.

To overcome such lows, he advocates for seeking solace in the embrace of loved ones. “It’s important to always turn to your family and friends for support, spend quality time with them, and seek emotional comfort when needed,” he advises. “Listening to music helps me relax, unwind, and forget about any unhappiness I may feel.”

However, pursuing a thriving squash career has necessitated sacrifices, often meaning less time with cherished ones. Yet, Jun Qian finds solace and motivation in the unwavering support of his inner circle. “My parents, friends, coaches, and lecturers always motivate me to push further, and their support means a lot to me,” he expresses. “My coaches are especially supportive, providing valuable advice whenever I face challenges.”

Jun Qian reminisces fondly about his standout moments in squash, cherishing victories like winning two gold medals for Selangor in the MSSM (Malaysian School Sports Council) tournament and representing Malaysia at the prestigious British Junior Open in 2020. Despite not clinching the title, the experience enriched his growth as a player.

Following his squash idol, Ong Beng Hee, Jun Qian draws inspiration from the legendary Malaysian player’s style and attitude. He admires Beng Hee’s achievements and aims to emulate his success.

Tay Jun Qian claimed the championship at the Borneo Junior Open in Kuching, Sarawak, in July 2023.

Grateful for his family’s unwavering support, Jun Qian acknowledges their sacrifices. “My family stands by me through all the ups and downs, attending every tournament and providing financial support for my squash and education,” he shares.

Expressing gratitude to INTI for their assistance, Jun Qian appreciates the institution’s flexibility and financial aid, which have alleviated his burdens, allowing him to focus on his studies and squash.

Determined to realise his dreams, Jun Qian sets his sights on representing Malaysia in the Olympics. With this goal steering his endeavours, he remains committed to excelling in his academic and athletic pursuits.