Excitement mounts for Malaysia Open Badminton C’ship

Karim speaking during yesterday’s press conference. From left are Hadi, Dr Ong and Chew.

KUCHING: With less than three weeks to go the Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open 2017 Badminton Championship has received an overwhelming response from the country and around the world as tickets to the semi-finals and finals have been sold out.

Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, however, assured that a quota of 500 tickets will still be sold at the venue – State Stadium, Kuching – during the competition from April 4-9.

“This is the kind of response we have received from all over the world, we will have a lot of players, supporters and fans from all over the world coming here for the championship,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He also noted that authorised tickets agents, who will be selling tickets until March 20, have reported that the tickets are selling like hot cakes.

Authorised tickets agents are LEA Sports Centre retail outlets in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri, and World Sports Equipments Sdn Bhd, TN Sports, Thumb’s Up Badminton Academy and Pro Wira Badminton in Sibu.

Those who purchase from these agents will only be issued receipts and they can collect actual tickets at the State Stadium during the competition dates.  Karim said the organisers are looking into the possibility of providing a giant screen at the stadium area to allow those who fail to purchase tickets to still enjoy watching the tournament live.

“This is to avoid disappointment especially those who have come from far places outside Kuching, they still can watch the Malaysia open finals on the giant screen provided. To make the atmosphere more happening,there will festivals going on as well,” he explained.

The tournament is a top-tier World Super Series event in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) calendar with US$600,000 in total prize money. It is expected to draw the world’s top 10 players including Malaysia’s Datuk Lee Chong Wei and China’s Lin Dan.

Two days ago, Lee said he is eyeing his 12th Malaysia Open title when he returned to Kuala Lumpur after winning his 4th All-England singles crown. Local fans are also hoping to catch the national mixed doubles pair of Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying who were runners-up at last week’s All-England championships.

More than 350 shuttlers are expected to compete in Kuching. Top badminton playing countries such as China, Indonesia, India, Denmark, South Korea, Chinese Taipei and Malaysia are all reported to be sending large contingents for the tournament which will be telecast live to over 30 countries.

“So I hope the locals can look after our visitors well to make them feel welcomed. This is part of our national services to promote our State and our nation,” Karim said.

Also present at the press conference were Sarawak Sports Corporation chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee, Badminton Association of Malaysia general manager Lawrence Chew and Sarawak Badminton Association honorary secretary Abdul Hadi Datuk Abdul Kadir.

Full details on the tournament can be obtained at www.badmintonmalaysiaopen.com.

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