Simon says open up Purple League to foreign clubs

Indonesia's Simon Santoso in action at the Malaysian Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament in Johor last year. - Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesian men’s singles veteran Simon Santoso hopes a full-fledged international club will be allowed to compete in the Kopiko Purple League.

The 30-year-old Simon has been a regular face for Klang United BC in the league since the inaugural 12-team round-robin competition started on Nov 25.

“I have been having a great time in the league,” said Simon.

“It is my hope that an international club will be invited to compete in the future. It will surely add more glitter to the league. In the Indonesian League last year, we had several top teams from Malaysia, Japan and Thailand.”

In the Kopiko Purple League, a club is allowed to recruit three foreign players. Besides Simon, the other top drawcard of Klang United BC is Derek Wong of Singapore, a silver medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year.

Klang United BC are fifth in the league after five ties and Simon has promised to lead them to a strong finish when the season ends on Feb 1.

World No. 24 Simon, who defeated Lee Chong Wei in the final of the Singapore Open last year to win his first Superseries title in more than two years, is also determined to soar higher in world badminton this season.

“It’s an important season as this is the Olympic qualifying year. I hope to make it a memorable year,” said Simon, adding that he hoped to see Chong Wei, who is under suspension for a doping violation, making a quick return to add excitement to the sport.

Yesterday, Simon and his Klang United BC team-mates received  a big boost when insurance company NPG Agency Sdn Bhd signed a deal to sponsor them in the league.

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