Olympic champion Taufik at World Masters Badminton Championship

Some participants of the 26th WMBC dancing with the local dancing troupe during the dinner.

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Nov 2: Former world and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat will showcase his skills at the ongoing 26th World Masters Badminton Championship (WMBC) here from Oct 31-Nov 3.

Taufik has won the Indonesian Open six times (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006) and regarded as one of the best men’s singles player in badminton history.

Other badminton greats such as Tan Boon Keong, Koo Kean Keat and Bobby Ertanto are also in town to showcase their once formidable talents.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, at the tourney’s welcoming dinner yesterday, called on Sarawakians to come in droves to support and enjoy the championship.

“For us in Sarawak, I sincerely hope that the hosting of this international badminton event will help to boost further interest in the sports and its development in Sarawak among our young players.

“This is also an occasion for our local badminton enthusiasts from all over Sarawak to have the opportunity to witness former world class players in action in Kuching,” Abang Johari said in his speech.

Abang Johari delivering his speech.

He expressed hope that the World Badminton Federation and Badminton Federation of Malaysia will continue to support Sarawak’s bid to host more international badminton championships in the future as it has world class venues.

“For this 26th edition of the World Masters Badminton Championships, the Sarawak government is most grateful to the World Chinese Badminton Federation for their tremendous commitment to hold this auspicious event in Kuching,” he said.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the state government encouraged visitors from other countries to come and participate in sporting events, as part of its policy to encourage sports tourism.

“We were informed by the organising committee that this year’s event has received overwhelming response from participants all over the world with 1,860 players from 20 different countries,” he said.

The four-day event is currently held at the multi-purpose venue specially built for the event by transforming the Lawn Bowls Arena in Petrajaya into 20 badminton courts. — DayakDaily