PLAYING host for the first time, the 29th Penang and CIMB Women’s World Championship is set to please local squash fans with a series of action-packed matches by the world’s leading players.
Fans can experience first-hand as home favourite and seven-time world champion Datuk Nicol David defends the title at Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition Centre (SPICE) in Penang.
Starting tomorrow until March 23, championship organising chairman Thomas Chan said he was confident of surpassing 5,000 spectators on the opening day.
“Squash tournaments in Malaysia usually do not command a crowd of 500 people and if our target is met, this will be the biggest crowd ever in the 28 years of the World Women Championship.
“There is a different twist to the event as I have angled the whole event towards patriotism where local fans can cheer for our national players, such as Nicol and World No. 6 Low Wee Wern (both Penangites), as well as gaining valuable spectators’ entertainment from a series of activities lined up for them,” he said.
There is certainly hype about the event as major roads on the island are filled with event streamers and there are electronic billboards playing a 30-second video of the event.
The tagline for the tournament, “Simply The Best”, coupled with jam-packed activities, will offer loads of excitement throughout the championship.
Fans will be able to witness the first ever Penang 3D Projection Mapping show during the opening and closing ceremony, aerial performances, freestyle football as well as former F1 driver Alex Yoong showing off some drifting skills in a Catarham car in between matches.
There will also be a torch run and bike event to show support to Nicol. The 3km fun run or 10km fun ride will be flagged off at SPICE on March 18.
A total of 84 international squash players from 22 countries including World No. 2 Laura Massaro, World No. 4 Alison Waters, (both from England) as well as No. 3 Raneem El Welily from Egypt.
The qualifying rounds will start tomorrow at the Nicol David International Squash Centre, while the last 32 main draw will begin on March 18 at SPICE.
The grand final will be held on March 23.
CIMB Group is the title sponsor and The Star is the official media for this year’s event.
Chan urged local fans to come and support both Nicol and Low during the championship.
“As both of them are Penangites, this is a fantastic opportunity to support our national players.
“I hope this championship will appeal to local fans as how often do we get a world championship held in our home ground,” he said.
For more information on the tournament and its opening ceremony, visit www.simplythebest.my