KUCHING: Former and current badminton superstars like Malaysia’s Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Koo Kien Keat as well as Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat are expected to grace the 26th World Masters Badminton Championship Kuching at the Sarawak Sports Complex, Petra Jaya from Oct 31 to Nov 3.
More than 3,000 shuttlers, officials and supporters, friends and family members from more than 20 countries will converge on Kuching for this event specially organised for non-professional players aged 25 and above.
It is also the largest amateur badminton tournament in the world.
“We are indeed honoured that Kuching, Sarawak was given the trust to be the host for this World Chinese Badminton Federation (WCBF) tournament which is held outside China for the third time after the Philippines and Thailand.
“One interesting aspect of this event is that we will get to see players who are aged more than 85 and 90 to play actively at this ripe age,” Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said in a press conference at Bangunan Baitul Makmur, Petra Jaya yesterday.
Also present were Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan, permanent secretary to the Ministry Hii Chang Kee, Sarawak Sports Corporation CEO Dr Ong Kong Swee, WCBF chairman Wu Jun Yan and Club Badminton WCBF Sibu pro-tem chairman Ting Wei Ping.
“We are going to have the Aerodome built to accommodate the number of courts besides the courts at the Sarawak Indoor Stadium as we need 28 to 30 courts for the competition where 2,900 matches will be held.
“Apart from badminton, the state-of-the-art Aerodome will be a permanent site for other sports competitions such as futsal, netball, basketball and other events,” Karim added.
The Asajaya assemblyman hoped that this international tournament will not only help to promote tourism but also sports tourism that will benefit the local hospitality industries.
It is also the best platform to gather all badminton enthusiasts together for bonding, meeting of old friends, making of new friends and recreation as well as leisure.
A total of 102 categories will be competed, with prize money only awarded to the winners of the Open (under 35 years old) and Open (over 35 years old) while the top four winners of other categories will receive medals only.
For the first time in Kuching, the fans will get to watch Special 3P Event being played/competed by three players with a combination of 200 and 220 years against another three players on the other side of the court.
Entries for locals is limited to 600 players while a website will be set up in mid-March for the registration of players.
The RM2 million Aerodome is expected to be ready in July this year.