THE Malaysian Junior Open Squash championship that Penang is to host in the middle of the year will be the criteria to decide the tickets to the British Junior Open championship from now on.
Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) secretary Christopher Brodie in confirming this in Penang said they would no longer depend on the Hong Kong Junior Open to decide who would be eligible for the reward.
This reward is incidentally an incentive handed out to all local winners whereby they will receive the CIMB Foundation overseas incentives and be fully funded to participate in the British Open in January next year.
“Our criteria in selecting the eventual candidates for these CIMB incentives to the British Junior Open has, until last year, been based on the performances of our young talents at the Hong Kong Junior Open,” said Brodie on Friday.
“But as of this year, we have decided to have these incentives confirmed in our own backyard instead, since we do have our own Junior Open championship to rely on.
“With such incentives dangled before our top junior players, this will be more meaningful and will surely make our annual Junior Open a more glamorous and challenging affair.”
This change, added Brodie, would begin with the PBA 11th Penang (Malaysian) Junior Open championship Penang is to host at the Nicol David International Squash Centre in Bukit Dumbar from June 4 to 9.
The Squash Rackets Association of Penang (SRAP), he said, successfully outbid five other states for the hosting job after SRAM took into consideration Penang’s impressive track record of hosting international meets of this nature in the past.
“To make the event even more attractive for foreigners as well as our locals, this championship has been recognised as a national Open by the WSF (World Squash Federation) who had given it TIER II status last year,” added Brodie.
“This automatically meant that Under-19 players could fully utilise our Junior Open championship to accumulate World Junior Ranking points.
“Similarly, the ASF (Asian Squash Federation), who also viewed our Junior Open as one of the major events in Asia, also awarded our event the Platinum Status on the Asian Junior Super Series.
“This will prove to be another encouraging factor as all participants would earn Asian Junior Ranking points as well.”
With the WSF and ASF status, coupled with the track record of the event and the overseas incentive for Malaysia players, this year’s Junior Open challenge is expected to lure over 500 participants from over a dozen countries.
In anticipation of the big turnout, Brodie said that SRAP also added an additional day to the event, apart from securing a new hotel to accommodate the additional players and officials expected.
SRAM president Datuk Syed Mustaffa Syed Ali, who had in his message expressed confidence of success working together with SRAP, said they look forward to collaborating further with Penang.
“We have been highly successful in our collaboration on numerous occasions and we look forward to working with them once again.”
This year’s Penang (Malaysian) Junior Open, which will again see the Penang Water Authority (PBA) as a main sponsor, with both Nestle and Dunlop as the co-sponsors, is also sanctioned as a state event and supported by the Penang State Sports Council.
The annual challenge will also see five age group categories in both the Boys and Girls being held, which are the Under-19, Under-17, Under-15, Under-13 and Under-11 categories.
Closing date for entries is April 30. For details and registration, visit the SRAP website (squashpenang.com), the ASF website (www.asiansquash.org) or the WSF website (www.worldsquash.org).
Both tournament director Khoo Teng Hin and Christopher are also available for enquiries at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org respectively.