SIBU: The Victor Far East Malaysia Masters 2017 (VFEMM), promising to become the biggest sporting event ever in Sibu, is set to rumble at Sibu Indoor Stadium from Jan 17-22.
Assistant Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Hamzah said 280 players from 16 countries and about 100 journalists from around the world are expected to show up.
“The frenzy, the thrill and the excitement is about to unfold and let’s hope the people here, young and old, will turn up in full force to support the event with overwhelming enthusiasm,” he told a press conference held here yesterday afternoon.
The second-tier Grand Prix Gold tournament has attracted some world-class players from around the world.
The Malaysian challenge will include world No. 1 doubles pair Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong, world No. 5 mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and No. 9 Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing.
In the singles, Iskandar Zainuddin, Goh Jin Wei, Chong Wei Fong, Tan Jia Wei, Tan Chun Seang and Cheam Jun Wei will be vying for honours.
The international field for men’s singles will see Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Lon (world No. 10), tournament top seed Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand, second seed Lee Yun Il from South Korea and Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiato and Sonny Kunchoro.
Notable names in the women’s singles are world No. 9 Saina Nehwal from India and world No. 13 Ongbamrungphan Busanan from Thailand.
The 16 participating countries are Brunei, Spain, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Ukraine, the USA and Malaysia.
China are not sending any player apparently due to the clash of dates with their own domestic league while Japan will only be sending their second stringers.
Karim said the event also coincided with the Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) efforts to promote Visit Sibu Year 2017.
“This is the first event of the year, and it is bound to bring about economic spin-off for Sibu, both short term and long term,” he added.
He noted that the tournament will be telecast live to the 16 participating countries and it was a big opportunity for Sibu to be made known all over the world during the six-day tournament.