Sunday, August 25

Senator confident of Olympic future for squash

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Ling (centre), MSA president Yeo Yaw Lee (third row, third right) and event organising chairman Thomas Lee (third row, second right) with the participants.

MIRI: Senator Alan Ling has advised squash enthusiasts here not to be discouraged by the exclusion of the sport from the Olympic despite much efforts by various countries and world renowned players bidding for its inclusion.

He said it’s only a matter of time before squash becomes part of the Olympic, the largest sporting event in the world.

“Squash is played in more than 185 countries and a popular sport worldwide. Therefore, it is rather disappointing and regret that squash is, again, excluded from the list of additional event proposed for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“Even so, I urged the squash players to keep their hope high as the time will come for the recognition,” said Ling when officiating at the Miri Closed 2019 at Pei Min Squash Academy yesterday.

The sport, he added, has brought fame and glory to Malaysia over the past 20 years by players like Datuk Nicol David, Ong Beng Hee, Azlan Iskandar and many others.

He added that the government also acknowledge the contributions of athletes to the country and have shown their appreciation in many ways.

“One of them is by injecting RM3 million into the National Athletes Welfare Foundation (YAKEB), a fund that provide medical and health benefits to current and former national athletes. This move is part of the effort to recognise the athletes’ contributions to the country and showing significant commitment by the government towards the welfare of the current and former national athletes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ling also encouraged local sports organisations, such as Miri Squash Association (MSA), to forge partnership with local enterprises in promoting sports, as part of private sector’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. He believes that it will benefit all parties in both short and long term.

A total of 140 players from Miri, Kuching and Brunei are taking part in Miri Closed 2019, organised by MSA.

Ling showed his support by contributing RM1,000 to MSA to fund the event’s expenses.