KUALA LUMPUR: Due to overwhelming response in the National Junior Squash Circuit last year, the CIMB have increased their sponsorship to a whopping RM500,000 for the five legs of the circuit this year.
For the last two years, the sponsorship was RM300,00. With the increase, the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM), will introduce the boys' and girls' Under-12 categories this year.
The last two years the circuit was only for boys' and girls' Under-9 and Under-11 categories.
Organising chairman of the CIMB National Junior Circuit Datuk Syed Mustaffa Syed Ali said the increase will enable the Under-12 category to be competed hence providing competitions for primary school children.
“The circuit is a platform to spot and nurture budding talents in the sports. And we hope to see more juniors in the mode of Nicol David (the world number one women player) and also Ong Beng Hee and Mohd Azlan Iskandar (Malaysia's top two men players, who are ranked in the world top-20,'' said Syed Mustaffa.
The first junior circuit will start today at the NSC Courts in Jalan Duta. The second leg is schedule for Kota Baru from March 28-30; the third leg will be held in Teluk Sisek in Kuantan from May 2-4; fourth leg at Astaka Courts in Petaling Jaya from July 4-6 and the Grand Finals will be held at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil from July 31 to Aug 3.
A total of 320 players will be involved in the first circuit. The boys' and girls' Under-9 and 11 will see a draw of 64 for each category and for the Under-12, it will be a draw of 32 players each in the boys' and girls' divisions.
Syed Mustaffa added that they have also put aside RM20,000 to help poor players.
“Potential players, whose parent earn RM1,000 or less a month, will receive financial assistance from us. We expect to help about 20 to 30 players,'' said Syed Mustaffa after receiving the mock cheque from Effendy Shahul Hamid, the Head of CIMB Group Corporate Communication yesterday.
Effendy said that CIMB Foundation have committed RM2mil a year to SRAM for tournaments, administrative expenses and development programmes.