|Karim (fifth left) holding the squash championship schedule and with him are Dr Ong (fourth left), Sivanesen (third right), Emmanuel (second right) and others at a photocall held at the meeting room of Stadium Negeri Sarawak. — Photo by Wilfred Pilo|
KUCHING: Sarawak will host the 3rd South East Asia Squash Championshipship 2017 at the squash courts from Feb 14-18, in a big leg-up for sports tourism as the state has been chosen as venue for yet another hallmark sport event.
Assistant Minister of Youth And Sports Sarawak Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that this will be the first time the prestigious event is being held in Malaysia and Sarawak was given the honour to become the host.
“The first event was hosted by Singapore in 2015 and they won the championship and in 2016 it was held in Myanmar and Malaysia won,” he said at the press conference on the championship held at Stadium Negeri Sarawak, here yesterday.
“On behalf of the state government and the Sarawak people as a whole, we thank the Squash Racquet Association of Malaysia (SRAM) and South East Asia Squash Federation (SEASF) for giving Kuching City the ‘nod’ in hosting this prestigious event,” he added.
Karim said squash fans and Kuching folk ought to be thrilled as the state hosts yet another international event.
“The championship does not charge any entry fees and it is free (in admission to the public) and Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg may be present to close and give away prizes if he is able to come,” he added.
“We are also excited because the event is expected to attract upcoming squash players from Asean countries and among them are Malaysia’s top junior players too,” he said.
Karim revealed that it is an exciting moment for Sarawak Malaysia to play host as the head of newly formed South East Asia Squash Federation Robert Lau Hui Yew is from Sibu and he is also deputy president of Squash Racquet Association of Malaysia and we too used to produce top squash players like Mohd Azaln Iskandar.
He revealed that countries which have confirmed participation are Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia,Thailand and the Philippines.
Karim also disclosed that Malaysia are the defending champions in the men’s singles and women’s singles and the prestigious event is the curtain-raiser for the Asian and Malaysian squash calendar of 2017.
He said the Kuching event will feature men’s and women’s singles and doubles, mixed doubles and team event.
The early rounds of the competitions will commence on Feb 14 while the finals are slated for Feb 18. He said the squash courts in Sarawak are of world-class standard and adequate to be used as a international competition venue.
“We recently held an international diving event in 2016 at the Pandelela Aquatic Centre in Petra Jaya and Masters badminton tournament in Sibu,” he added,
Karim said the state government has always welcomed the organising and staging of international sporting events on local shores, which augur well for the promotion and the development of sports tourism in the state.
Present at the press conference were South East Asia Squash Federation secretary-general K. Sivanesen and organising chairman Emmanuel David and the chief executive officer of Sarawak Sports Corporation Dr Ong Kong Swee. -The Borneo Post