Thursday January 24, 2013
Ministry and academy give squash a big boost
By AFTAR SINGH
PUTRAJAYA: The Youth and Sports Ministry have signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Azlan Iskandar Squash Academy (AISA) to produce more world class players.
With the co-operation, Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said they hoped Malaysia would be able to produce more world class players to replace seven-time world champion Nicol David.
“There are 500 students now training at the academies around the country and this augurs well for the future of the sport in Malaysia,” added Shabery after witnessing the MoU signing between Youth and Sports Ministry secretary Datuk Mohid Mohamed and Azlan Iskandar in Putrajaya yesterday.
Three academies were opened in Bau (Sarawak), Kemaman (Terengganu) and Seremban II (Negri Sembilan) last year.
Five more academies will be set up this year in Johor, Kota Baru, Pahang, Malacca and Kuala Terengganu.
Shabery said Azlan Iskandar would also be introducing the Malaysian Tour Squash Circuit involving 10 states.
“Each leg will offer a total prize money of RM30,000 and it will be open to players between the ages of 17 to 25,” said Shabery.
The first leg will be held in Kemaman from Feb 15-17.
Azlan thanked the Youth and Sports Minister for helping him to fund his academy.
“I will continue to identify new talent and focus on grooming world class players,” said Azlan, who retired from playing squash last year.
The Sarawak-born Azlan was once the Asian champion and a gold medallist in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.
He also won 14 professional titles in his 13-year career. His career-best world ranking was 10th.