30 Nov REDtone 10th Kuala Lumpur International Junior Open Squash Championships 2016 attracts 660 participants, biggest in Asia since 2013
In picture: Organising chairman Steven Kwan and Lau Bik Soon in a group photograph with the KL players after the mock cheque presentation at REDtone International Berhad HQ in Puchong.
THE REDtone 10th Kuala Lumpur International Junior Open Squash Championships will be back in action next month with another feather on the cap, a record breaking 660 entries from around the world.
The meet will be held in two different venues – Jalan Duta Squash Courts in Kuala Lumpur and at National Squash Courts in Bukit Jalil from Dec 6-11.
The event seemed to be much sought after year after year with China and Myanmar joining the fray as the latest addition.
Besides hosts Malaysia, the other countries include Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, Colombia, Iran, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. The notable absentee is India, who skipped the event after sending a large contingent for the Asian Junior championships at Bukit Jalil in late September.
Squash Rackets Association of Federal Territory Acting President Steven Kwan said he was thankful to REDtone for coming in as the sponsor for the fifth year.
“The tournament has become the biggest event in Asia since 2013 and for the second year running, it has more than 650 participants which augurs well for the game,” said Steven, adding that the tourney may achieve Platinum Status upon approval by Asian Squash Federation next year.
He also thanked the all the other sponsors and the Stadium Board including the contractors for ensuring the Jalan Duta courts were ready on time for the tournament.
Meanwhile, REDtone International Berhad Group Chief executive officer Lau Bik Soon said he was thankful to Squash Association of Federal Territory (SRAFT) for giving them an opportunity to be part of this amazing event for the past five years.
“We are truly delighted to see the growth not only in size of the entries but in stature and popularity from across the globe. This augurs well for the sport and the fans alike. It has now gained the distinction of being the biggest tournament in Asia surpassing the 650 mark for the second year running, “added Bik Soon.
Malaysia’s top junior Ng Eain Yow from Kuala Lumpur rose to fame by becoming the world junior champion in Poland in August 2016 besides winning three age group titles in the prestigious British Junior Open (BJO) in the past.
This time around the 18-year-old lad will be missing the tourney to concentrate on the BJO to scalp his fourth title in a row.
In his absence, top female star Andrea Lee will shoulder Kuala Lumpur’s challenge in the annual meet.
Andrea, 18, won her first professional title in the Hong Kong Challenge Cup 2016 besides emerging Asian Junior champion for three consecutive years 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Andrea will have to contend with national teammates Zoe Foo, Teh Min Ern, Ooi Kah Yan and Lai Wen Li in the Girls’ Under-19 section.
Andrea, who bagged the REDtone Girl’s Under-19 for the last two years, is hoping to complete a hattrick although her only concern is lack of match practice and fitness.
Andrea suffered a left ankle injury during her semifinals match against her Japanese nemesis Satomi Watanabe at the Asian Junior championships in Bukit Jalil in September and had to retire her match midway into the third game.
Since then she has been out of action and only on Monday, Nov 28, she resumed her training under caretaker coach Andrew Cross.
“My coach Peter Genever is currently in Paris for the World Women’s team championships, therefore, I am under the guidance of Andrew now. I am definitely not up to my true potential as I laid off for more than six weeks. I just started playing for the past few days and my movements are quite restricted. Nevertheless, I will fight till the end to clinch a hattrick,” said the soft spoken Andrea, who picks Zoe Foo from Negri Sembilan and National junior teammate as her main challenger in the tournament.
The other hopefuls for Kuala Lumpur are Joachim Chuah and Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi in the Boys’ Under-13 and Girls’ Under-15 respectively.