Malaysia will compete in the sixth Sea Cup in Bangkok on Feb 18-23 despite the coronavirus outbreak.
“As far as I know, the tournament is still on and we are still committed to it,” said Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director Mejar (rtd) S. Maniam.
More than 42,000 people have been infected by the flu-like virus in mainland China, with authorities confirming more than 1,000 deaths.
The outbreak has forced several sport events around the world to either be postponed or cancelled.
In fact, the Professional Squash Association (PSA) confirmed earlier this month that two tournaments in March — the Perrier Challenge in Hong Kong (March 4-8) and the Macau Open (March 18-22) — have been put on hold.
So far, only Singapore, with 45 confirmed cases, have withdrawn from the annual SEA Cup.
“The SEA Cup is a good outlet for us to provide our younger players with exposure,” said Maniam, who added that SRAM will again send a very young squad to the mixed team event in Bangkok.
The team will comprise Duncan Lee, Hafiz Zhafri, Wee Ming Hock and C. Ameeshenraj (men); as well as teenagers Aira Azman and Wong Heng Wai (women).
Malaysia have generally done well in the SEA Cup previously — taking the women’s individual and mixed team gold medals last year.
With last year’s silver medallists Singapore out of the way, Malaysia’s sole challenge should come from the Philippines, who have named their strongest line-up.
Sea Games men’s individual silver medallist Robert Garcia and women’s World No 83 Jemyca Aribado will lead the Filipino challenge.
A total of five events — men and women’s singles, mixed team, men and women’s jumbo doubles — will be contested at the SEA Cup.