In a drive to include everyone who was present at the event, a large pinup board was installed for everyone to personally pledge their support for the sport. Alongside the young and old, we are pleased to say that the State Executive Councillor for Youth and Sports Lydia Ong Kok Fooi, who officiated the World Squash Day celebrations in Penang, also pledged her support for the Squash for 2016 movement by signing on the board.
Activities were organised for squash enthusiasts of all ages. From colouring contests and a treasure hunt for the kids to mini squash tournaments and raffle draws for the teenagers and adults. For those who wished to showcase their squash skills, they were challenged to participate in “Aim the Target” and “Pot a Shot”, games that tested speed and accuracy of the participants on the squash court. There were also free balloons and face painting provided by SRAP to lend a carnival feel to the event.
Guests were also able to challenge the professionals to a quick game of squash.
Low Wee Wern, British Junior Open Champion 2009, were among the pros present alongside, Kosuke Moukawa and Misaki Kobayashi—Japanese players who are currently training in Penang. The crowd was further entertained with an interesting doubles match between squash coaches of the Penang Squash Academy, Aaron Soyza and Khoo Teng Hin against the event emcee, Non (Aanont Wathanasin, also the TV host of Deal or No Deal, Malaysia) and his squash partner, Thomas. This game was captivating as Aaron & Teng Hin played with only one racquet! On an interesting note, Non once represented Johor in squash. Therefore it was quite a spectacular game with Non and Thomas, giving Aaron and Teng Hin a good run for their money—winning the game 11-7. As a token of appreciation, the visitors were later presented with a limited edition Datuk Nicol David encased, autographed squash ball.
The highlight of the day was the auction of Nicol David Memorabilia. Among the items up for bid were Nicol’s winning racquets from the British Open 2005 and Malaysian Open 2007 alongside various outfits from winning tournaments. Nicol herself was also put on auction which was won by the SRAP Chairman, Datuk Lim Tiong Chin and his friend Thomas who will be sharing a 45-minute squash session and lunch date with Datuk Nicol for RM2,400. Datuk Lim, who would not have any problem arranging a meeting with Datuk Nicol commented that he participated in goodwill to help boost the funds collected for the ‘Squash for 2016’ campaign fund. The auction was conducted by the emcee for the day, local radio deejay and squash enthusiast, Non, who incidentally won the bid for one of the items—Nicol’s Malaysian Open Top.
Finally at 6pm, it was announced that Penang alone has successfully collected a whooping RM10,706—thanks to the generosity of all squash fans and Penangites present at the event. The total funds collected for the event will be forwarded to the Squash for 2016 fund to further our Olympic dream!
We would like to thank everyone who was present at the event—it wouldn’t have been an overwhelming success without you.
Note: Photos are with thanks to Azuan from NDOnline! Thanks, Azuan for the great photos.