Another world event here

KUCHING: Kuching will host another international event, the 26th World Masters Badminton Championship (WMBC) to compensate for the disappointment of not being able to host the World Para Swimming Championship 2019 here.

A total of 3,500 badminton players in the Masters category will be descending into the city here for the WMBC from Oct 31 to Nov 3.

The Sarawak government and its partner, Club Badminton WCBF Sibu secured the rights to host the event from tournament owners the World Chinese Badminton Federation in China last year.

This was disclosed at a joint press conference by the Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and the chairman for the World Chinese Badminton Federation (WCBF)  yesterday.

Karim said: “The state is quite excited for this event because of its peculiar nature where it attracts even seniors aged 90 to play in the tournament.”

“The event has 30 age groupings with two open categories that include a three-player team event where the combined ages of the three players must be 220 years,” said Karim

The WBMC attracts amateur and retired professional masters players from over 20 countries around the world and is fast growing in stature.

“This event is so huge that the state will be building an ‘aerodome’ to cater for the matches and it will have the capacity to host 20 badminton courts at a time,” added Karim

“The aerodome is a large inflated dome erected permanently and can be used as an indoor event venue for other events such as futsal and gymnastics and it will take only six months to build, costing the state just over RM2 million for the dome,” Karim told the media.

“So apart from the indoor stadium, we will be using the soon-to-be-built aerodome just acoss the road to have 30 courts in play at all times. That will help cater for the 3,500 players expected to turn up for the event.”

Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) will be taking charge of the aerodome after its completion and will be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the facility with guidance from the builders from China.

“The builders from China will be guiding us as the facility is the first of its kind in the state and we will need the technology transfer to better manage the property in future,” SSC CEO, Dr Ong Kong Swee said.

Local (Malaysian) players who are interested to participate will be required to pay RM200 per entry while international participants will have to fork out RMB350 per entry for the event.

The two open categories will feature a trophy and a significant cash prize while the rest of the categories will see winners getting medals.

The event is open to amateur players above 25 years of age and is not limited to Chinese players as other interested players will be able to submit applications online by September this year.

Malaysia is expected to have the highest number of participants with 600 expected entries followed closely by China and Indonesia.

Among the celebrities expected to highlight the event are Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Taufik Hidayat and Koo Kien Kiat.

Also present at the press conference yesterday were Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports, Datuk Snowdan Lawan, permanent secretary to the Ministry Hii Chang Kee, SSC Ceo Dr Ong Kong Swee, WCBF chairman Wu Jun Yan, WCBF Sarawak Branch chairman Ting Wei Ping and Exco members of WCBF.

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