Vivian secures first sponsor but her pro debut will have to wait

PETALING JAYA: Former international Vivian Hoo was all fired up for her professional debut at the Malaysian Open after securing a timely sponsorship this week.

The 31-year-old was jumping for joy after securing her first sponsor by signing up with Protech Sports but her happiness was short-lived when she learnt that the home tournament schedule from May 25-30 had been postponed.

Short-lived joy: Vivian Hoo posing with the managing director of Protech Sport, Datuk Ronnie Chong.Short-lived joy: Vivian Hoo posing with the managing director of Protech Sport, Datuk Ronnie Chong.

Vivian, who was released from the national team in February, has formed a new partnership with former teammate Lim Chiew Sien, 26.

The pair were supposed to play their first match against world No. 29 Alexandra Boje-Mette Poulsen of Denmark.

Vivian has taken the news in her stride.

“Chiew Sien and I are of course disappointed, it couldn’t get any better for us to start our partnership together in a home tournament, ” said Vivian, a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

“But we did in some way expect the postponement following the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country. The latest movement control order has made it difficult.

“It’s something beyond everyone’s control.”

Vivian-Chiew Sien are also in the 32-pair list for the Singapore Open from June 1-6, but Vivian isn’t convinced that the tournament would proceed either.

“I don’t think it’s happening too. My guess is that it will be either postponed or cancelled, ” she said.

“We just have to wait patiently for the tournaments to resume.”

At least for now, Vivian can heave a huge sigh of relief that she has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Protech, joining former two-time national champion Chiew Sien in the equipment manufacturer stable.

“I can’t thank Protech enough for their backing during this tough time. I will be getting not only equipment and apparels, but will also be paid a salary as well, ” said Vivian.

“I can now look forward to other sponsors to fund me for tournaments.”

The surge of Covid-19 cases and travel restrictions on a host of countries have left the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and sanctioning body Badminton World Federation (BWF) with no option but to postpone the event indefinitely.

“All attempts were made by the organisers and BWF to provide a safe tournament environment for all participants, but the recent surge in cases left them no choice but to postpone the tournament, ” said the BWF in a statement yesterday.

“BWF can confirm the rescheduled tournament will no longer take place in the Olympics qualifying window. New tournament dates will be confirmed at a later date.”

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