Friday, 3 March 2017

Setting an international stage

KUCHING: Sarawak will be hosting the Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open 2017 championship, a World Badminton Super Series, from April 4 to 9 at Stadium Perpaduan Sarawak.

About 350 athletes from 20 countries, namely Malaysia, China, Taiwan, India, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Denmark, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Egypt, Germany, Bulgaria, Russia, France, Spain, United States, Hong Kong and England will be in Kuching for the championship.

As the hosting country, Malaysia will see 46 players participating, followed by China with 40 players. Indonesia is the largest contingent with 53 players competing in the tournament.

Sarawak Assistant Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (pic) said the international event will be the biggest tournament ever hosted by Sarawak.

“This is one of the World Super series, second in line in terms of tournament ranking. The top-ranking tournaments are the Olympics and the world championship,” he said at a press conference in Stadium Negeri.

There will be five categories –, men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles, as well as mixed doubles.

Top players such as Malaysia’s Datuk Lee Chong Wei, China’s Lin Dan and Chen Long as well as Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen will be participating in this tournament.

Malaysians can watch top national players Tan Wee Kiong, Goh V Shem, Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying in action once again after their stunning performances at the Rio Olympics last year.

“All the Olympic medallists will be coming here to participate whether in singles, doubles or mixed doubles. Sarawakians will love seeing Chong Wei and Lin Dan battle it out with each other,” said Abdul Karim.

The prize money for this tournament is US$600,000 (RM2.5mil).

Ticket sales will start on March 6. Tickets can be purchased online at or at selected agents in Sarawak.

The first day of the tournament will be free for the public. Tickets for April 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are priced at RM20, RM30, RM40, RM50 and RM60 respectively.

Earlybird discount is 20%, with the promotion ending on March 20.

Season tickets cost RM175 per person. Season ticket holders will be able to watch all the matches.

Students enjoy a special rebate of 50% on the April 5 and 6 tickets.

They will have to be below 18 years old and wear their school uniforms to be eligible for the special pricing.

“We want to see more students attending this tournament. School Parent and Teacher Association should select badminton players from their schools to watch the matches,” he said.

Seats are free seating but the number of tickets is limited as the stadium can only fit 4,000 people.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia and Badminton World Federation are working closely with the Sarawak Badminton Association, Sarawak State Sports Council and state government to ensure the event goes smoothly.

“It will be good sports tourism for us as it’s not just the athletes coming. They will also be bringing their team of coaches, therapists, family members and supporters from all over the world.

“We want Sarawak to be known all over the world through this international event. We are proud of this upcoming championship,” said Abdul Karim.

He hopes to see Sarawakians take this opportunity to visit the stadium to watch the matches as it would be once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the badminton players live. -The Star

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