Anniversary bash for SportExcel meet

Local lass Siti Zulaikhaa Shaari will defend the girls' championship ©Mike Casper
Local lass Siti Zulaikhaa Shaari will defend the girls’ overall championship ©Mike Casper|TCH

KUALA LUMPUR: The AmBank SportExcel International Junior Championship will celebrate its tenth anniversary edition when the tournament tees off at Templer Park Country Club for the first time on November 3.

A record eleven foreign nations – namely Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand – have confirmed their participation with a strong field of 47 players.

The 54-hole championship, which is sanctioned by the Malaysian Golf Association, will also see the participation of 50 of Malaysia’s most talented junior golfers, who are invited based on their performance on the SportExcel National Junior Golf Circuit.

The highly-talented field will compete for the Tan Sri Azman Hashim trophies for the overall boys’ and girls’ champions respectively – named after the founder and chairman of AmBank Group.

Speaking ahead of the championship, AmBank Group’s head for Group Corporate Communications and Marketing Syed Anuar Syed Ali reinforced the Group’s unwavering commitment towards the successful organisation of the tournament.

“AmBank Group is extremely proud to be the title sponsor of this storied championship for the tenth consecutive edition. This year, we will have 12 Asia-Pacific countries in the field including hosts Malaysia, which is a testament to how rapidly this championship has grown over the last decade and I am sure that it will be a keenly contested once again,” noted Syed Anuar.

“SportExcel firmly believes that the future of Malaysian sports lies in the sustainable junior sport development programme. We at AmBank share the same vision as we believe that by giving support to youth training programmes, it will unearth new talents.

“Hence, grassroots development will go a long way in developing and elevating sports to a higher level in the country,” he added during the official sponsors presentation today.

SportExcel executive director Sivanandan Chinnadurai added that the tournament also serves as a vital platform for the development of junior golfers.

“We have a reciprocal programme with the participating countries, where we host their golfers when they come for this meet and our golfers receive the same when they go abroad for competitions there. This opens the door for our juniors to garner international exposure,” said Sivanandan, who shared that SportExcel is now affiliated with the Asia-Pacific Junior Golf Association, a grouping of regional junior circuits.

“We currently organise a highly competitive junior golf circuit with 12 legs nationwide, from which the best-ranked players are selected for this meet. The AmBank SportExcel International Junior Championship has been the stepping stone for many of our prodigious young talents on the road to stardom.

“The likes of Ben Leong, Kelly Tan, Arie Irawan, Michelle Koh, Kenneth De Silva and Gavin Kyle Green all honed their skills at that stage,” he added.

On the competition front, Malaysia’s Siti Zulaikhaa Shaari will defend the girls’ overall championship she won last year at Kota Permai Golf & Country Club.