KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment is backing the effort of the Sabah Soft Tennis Association (SSTA) to make a bid to host the Asian Soft Tennis Federation’s (ASTF’s) Asian Junior & Asian University Games next year.
Its Minister Datuk Christina Liew assured of support during a courtesy call by a three-member delegation from SSTA led by President Richard Shak. Present were Treasurer Liew Vun Shin and Foreign Affairs Officer Chin Khiam Kong.
“It will be great for Sabah to be able to host another international-level tournament. Such opportunity to promote Sabah as a premier tourist destination will boost the tourism industry, generate economic activity and elevate our image as an ideal location to host global sports events,” she said.
Liew, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, said her Ministry will work closely with the Ministry of Youth and Sports under the leadership of Minister Ginger Phoong Yin Zhe, to ensure that Sabah is ready to facilitate the smooth progress of the tournament.
“All tennis courts that will be used for the tournament must meet the international standards in order for Sabah to be selected as the host state.”
Briefing Liew on SSTA’s plans, Shak said the association will make the bidding at the forthcoming ASTF’s first-ever Members Meeting in Malaysia, hosted by SSTA in Sabah from Nov 22 to 24.
“Discussion of the Asian Junior and Asian University Games will be the main agenda,” he said.
He concurred that should the bid be successful, it will bring in hundreds of players, supporters and other visitors to Sabah.
According to Shak, ASTF Secretary-General Tatsuo Kasai of Japan expects all the member countries from Asia to participate in the meeting. “So far, countries like Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei, China, Hong Kong, Mongolia, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and host Malaysia have confirmed participation.”
Meanwhile, Chin said for the record, SSTA has been at the forefront in organising Junior Soft Tennis tournaments specially for the Southeast Asian neighbours.
“We thank the Minister for graciously agreeing to host the welcoming dinner for the ASTF delegation,” he added.
Also present were the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Datuk William Baya and STM Product Manager, Effendi -SabahNewsToday