MALACCA: Established in the late seventies, the Malacca Squash Rackets Association (MSRA) noted for its all year round nursery, development, training and coaching programmes in recent years, scored a first by signing up with a three-year sponsorship deal worth RM210,000 with a local sports company.
MSRA’s tie-up with X’Calibur Distributor Trading (XDT) covers the supply of rackets, playing gear and apparel for 40 trainees both boys and girls between the ages of nine and fifteen years currently in weekly training stints at the eight-court Stadium Hang Jebat Squash Complex in Krubong. Also thrown into the sponsorship bargain is a 50% discount for further purchase of related products.
MSRA president Andrew Muthu thanked XTD for coming on board with a generous sponsorship deal and support for the games’s promotion and development on the local front where Pakistani coach Gul Fahrim is in overall charge and supervision assisted by a team of local coaches.
Said Andrew “All sports association especially MSRA largely depend on government subsidies through the National Sports Council to undertake development and coaching programmes. However, of late financial assistance have been reduced. It is now most heartening to note that the commercial and private sponsors are coming in to sportingly play their roles.
XTD director Steward Cheong Kwee Seng said his company gives squash priority, the game that Nicol David along with Ong Beng Hee and Mohd Azlan Iskandar brought Malaysia into prominence. Malaysia is also well known for its team squash prowess among its age group and senior fronts. It is vital for NGOs to help the game grow and play more roles in producing world class talents and potentials to bring further pride and honour to both the state and nation, he added.
According to Andrew, a former state player and also newly elected Squash rackets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) council member, the state was the first in the country to launch a year round development and training programme way back in 1987. Subsequently, a nursery scheme was also incorporated.
“Young talents spotted in the under-seven and nine age groups by local coaches were drafted with parents’ consent, to join the year round nursery training scheme. Currently, Aziz Jaffar handles the beginners and novices with Roslan Hisham taking charge of the intermediate group and our Pakistani coach supervising overall as well as handling the state’s elite crop of players” he elaborated.
In the pioneer years, notable talents nurtured under the MSRA programmes and who made it all the way for national selection consideration included Jay Lim, Ang Tiang Chwee, Violet Soh, Randy Chitty, Rickey Lim and Sharon Wee. Currently, potentials making waves include Adam Agan Aziz and Nurdiyana Laili who donned national colours at the recent Japan Youth Championships held a the Squash Academy SQ-Cube Centre in Yokohama while Andrik Lim Kai Shan, Syarifah Nuraisyah Mohd Asrin and Wang Peng Soong played in the Hong Kong Age Group championships earlier this month.