Squash: SRAM-ACE partnership on home ground sees Malaysia secure coveted spot in Cairo World Championships

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(L-R) Gérard Montero, President SRAM, Ryunosuke Tsukue, Yi Wen Chan, Chandran, CEO of ACE Sports & ManagementGérard Montero, President of SRAM, Ryunosuke Tsukue, Yi Wen Chan, Chandran, CEO of ACE Sports & Management

Kuala Lumpur, 9 May 2024 – Malaysia secured a coveted spot in the 2024 World Squash Championships on significant home ground advantage following a strategic partnership between the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) and maverick promoters ACE Sports and Management.

Fourth seed Yi Wen Chan, 23 clinched a spot to play at the World Championships to be held in Cairo, trumping teammate Sehveetrraa Kumar, 18 with an impressive showing in Sunday’s qualifying finals at the Jalan Duta Courts. In the men’s division, top seed Japan’s Ryunosuke Tsukue overcame local player Addeen Idrakie to secure his berth in the Cairo showdown.

Ryunosuke Tsukue dan Yi Wen Chan

The weekend tournament was marked by stunning upsets as unseeded Sehveetra found her spot to the qualifying finals, toppling higher ranked players along the way while other Malaysian players were on a winning streak, fuelled by support from a full house of local audiences.

ACE Sport and Management promoter Jadish Kumar hailed Yi Wen’s victory as a testament to their commitment to elevating squash standards in the region and providing opportunities for young players to excel professionally.

“We are so proud that we managed to bring this tournament to Malaysia. It is the first time ever and it is a huge success. We saw a big crowd, huge audience. It is a great day for squash in the country,” Jadish said.

The tournament which began April 18 saw three Malaysians vie for a spot in the World Championships in Sunday’s final matches. “It was gratifying to witness today’s finals, along with the remarkable upsets by our emerging talents leading up to the championship match,” Jadish said.

SRAM Director Major (Rtd) S. Maniam said the successful bid by ACE Sports and Management to host the weekend qualifying event for the Asian zone allowed for Malaysian players to perform at a higher level.

“Firstly it has been a home ground advantage for our players and not only that, the spectators and our juniors and other players had the opportunity of seeing some of the region’s best players compete for that one spot to participate.”

He added that the ACE-organised year-round satellite tournaments around the country will also benefit the upcoming crop of players. “We have a bunch of really young players who will, I believe, bridge that gap in time to come,” Maniam said.

Yi Wen, ranked 79, joins top duo Ng Eain Yow and S. Sivasangari in the upcoming World Championships this May. Rachel Arnold (No. 28), Aifa Azman (No. 34), and Aira Azman (No. 41) complete the Malaysian team.  

Yi Wen Chan successfully secured a spot to compete in the World Championship

The matches were broadcasted live on PSA’s Squash TV by ACE Sports and Management’s in-house broadcasting team, garnering thousands of daily viewers and packed audiences at the Jalan Duta courts in the city.

The Malaysian promoters who have had a string of successes with their calendar of WSF and PSA Satelite Tour, Challenger Tour and World tournaments garnered enthusiastic backing from the global squash organisation to run the Asian zone qualifiers, buoyed by the resounding triumph of the previous year’s PSA Bronze level ACE Malaysia Cup.

“We have had 11,000 people who watched the whole tournament online. Our ongoing commitment is to invest in broadcast technology, with the next phase aimed at hosting more world-class tournaments within the region and cater to a growing global audience online,” Jadish affirmed.

SRAM’s Major Maniam highlighted how the Asian qualifying event aligns with Malaysia’s Road to Gold initiative, positioning squash as a formidable contender for the nation’s first Olympic gold medal in LA 2028.

“Squash has been put on the fast track of the RTG programme and they have shortlisted the Azman sisters, Aira and Aifa, Sangari and Yow. Our goal is to get them into the top ten as quickly as possible and then move up so that we can make a strong bid for medals, and hopefully gold in LA 2028,” Maniam said.

The PSA World Championships, renowned as the pinnacle tournament in squash, has evolved its draw to include one spot each for the winning male and female participants from qualifier events across continents – Oceania, Europe, Pan America, Africa and Asia – promoting opportunities for emerging talents in these regions.

Aside from high-level tournaments the ACE Sports and Management team have ongoing scheduled satellite tournaments throughout the year, including a 6k Challenger event in Johor, followed by a 12k tournament in Kuala Lumpur, with another Bronze-level tournament in the pipeline to attract prominent figures in the squash world to Southeast Asia.

Collaborating with Cairo-based Faragallah Squash and Fitness Academy (FSA), the promoters are organising squash clinics nationwide next month, aimed at delivering Egyptian styled training to Malaysian enthusiasts.