SINGAPORE TO HOST PROFESSIONAL EVENT ONCE AGAIN AND SQUASH 57 MAKES ITS DEBUT
The Singapore Squash Open will be back once again to our shores from 5th to 10th December 2017 at the Kallang Squash Centre. This year’s event should see some additional excitement within the local squash fraternity after Singapore won the men’s team gold at the SEA Games in August for the first time after 22 years.
The event will once again feature the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Men’s Challenger 5 event and a local open event that includes for the first time ever, Squash 57 for the Masters category.
This year’s professional event has attracted participants from nine countries – hosts Singapore, neighbours Malaysia, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, India, Australia, Thailand, Philippines and Pakistan, while participants from a further two countries, Zimbabwe and Scotland, are in the reserve list.
Hong Kong’s pair of Henry Leung and Chis Lo heads the draw, with Malaysians Valentino Bong and last year’s losing finalist Elvinn Keo completing the top quartet. James Huang of Chinese Taipei, a crowd favourite here in Singapore, will also be making a return to the event as the 5th seed and he will be looking to improve on his last eight showing the previous year.
Local interest will be headed by Vivian Rhamanan once again, who is joined by wild card Chua Man Chin, who has recently begun competing on the PSA World Tour. The pair will face Malaysian opponents in the opening round, with Vivian looking to avenge his recent loss to Darren Rahul Pragasm and Man Chin to play Elvinn Keo.
“Having just started playing on the PSA, I’m grateful for the opportunity as it will provide me with considerable ranking points that will give me a better chance of getting into future events.
I have gained a clearer insight into the amount of work that needs to go into playing at such a high level and I’ve been training hard for it. This opportunity will be a test of my abilities and see where I stand. I plan to give my all against Elvinn Keo, whom I’ve watched compete throughout my junior years”, said Man Chin.
Samuel Kang, Pang Ka Hoe and Benedict Chan, who together with Vivian was part of the SEA Games men’s team, will play in the qualifiers alongside youngsters Timothy Leong, Kojiro Tan and Rayden Tan.
With a number of local young talents having just started or looking to embark on a professional squash journey in the near future, this event will serve as a good stepping stone for them to kick start themselves onto the world tour.
In the local men’s premier event, last year’s professional event winner Tang Ming Hong returns to Singapore as the top seed ahead of compatriot Lau Tsz Kwan and Malaysians Valentino Bong and Bryan Lim. The event attracted 28 entries and will also feature former Singapore national champion Peter Hill and the Philippines team who won silver in the men’s team at the SEA Games – Robert Garcia, David Pelino and Reymark Begornia.
The women’s premier event will be headed by Malaysia’s Aika Azman followed by Philippines rising star Jemyca Aribado, who are both ranked in the top 100 of the PSA. The pair locked horns at the semi-final stage last year with Jemyca coming out victorious with an upset win.
Making its debut on Singaporean shores this time round is Squash 57, an event that is only open to participants over 40 years old this time round. The racquetball game that was renamed last year, has attracted a healthy number of participants in both the men’s and women’s event. Former national champion Zainal Abidin is top seed for the men’s while Cecilia Lee heads the women’s event.
Following immediately after the Singapore Squash Open 2017 will be the Singapore Junior Squash Open 2017, an Asian Squash Federation Super Series Gold event that carries valuable points for the participants to boost their Asian Junior rankings. A total of five age categories will be offered for each for the boys and girls events.
Squash Rackets Association of Singapore President, Dr. Woffles Wu was full of praise for both the events, saying:
“I am delighted that the Singapore Squash Open together with the Singapore Junior Squash Open is evolving into a tournament that caters to all ages of squash enthusiasts.
The addition of Squash 57 is interesting and it’s just wonderful to see so many foreign entries across the back to back events.”
This year’s Singapore Squash Open is supported by long-time Singapore Squash Rackets Association supporters MARIGOLD and TECNIFIBRE, with ELEVEN SPORTS as the media partner. The Singapore Junior Squash Open is sponsored by ONCOCARE.
Article by Alex Wan
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