Malaysian Match Racing Circuit to be supported by KFC

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Malaysian Match Racing Circuit (MMRC) first event is expected to take place in February 2012. Chairman of KFC Holdings (M) Berhad, Tuan Haji Kamaruzzaman Abu Kassim today announced its support for the MMRC at the closing ceremony of the KFC Felda Johor Open 2011 in Tanjung Leman, Mersing.

T-Best Events, the organisers behind the highly successful Monsoon Cup will work together with the Malaysian Yachting Association (MYA), to educate and train sailors, and manage and co-ordinate the Malaysian Match Racing Circuit. Endorsed by the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) Development Council, the circuit is the first of its kind in the nation for match racing, the same style of racing used in the season ending Monsoon Cup in Kuala Terengganu.

'The circuit will be incorporated within the already successful KFC Regatta in Langkawi, Kedah; Lumut, Perak; and Selangor, culminating in the Malaysian Match Racing Championship, the national qualifiers for the Monsoon Cup at Pulau Duyong, Kuala Terengganu. Keelboat racing will provide local sailors with more opportunities to continuously train and compete professionally in the match racing discipline, harnessing their full potential and preparing them for international events' said Kamaruzzaman, who is also the President of MYA.

'Tanjung Leman has been identified as one of the possible venues for the circuit which is expected to begin next year. The KFC Felda Johor Open 2011 that concluded today witnessed 152 athletes participate in four different categories, namely Optimist, Laser, International 420 and Windsurfing. There is very good feedback from them on the conditions here, that is optimal for sailing. It is definitely our wish for Tg.Leman to host one leg of the MMRC,' added Kamaruzzaman.

KFC Holdings (M) Berhad has already made its footing in the local sailing scene with its sponsorship of RM1.5million for the development sailing in Malaysia. These funds are allocated to the MYA, which is channelled to the various state sailing associations. This support for the MMRC is seen as a natural progression of their sponsorship.

The announcement received the full support of the sailors who were grateful to MYA and T-Best Events for creating a sailing fraternity and taking the sport to new heights to transform sailing into an industry as envisaged by the Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek. Mohd Romzi Muhamad (UPM Sailing Team) said, 'The idea of a Malaysian Match Racing Circuit is very good for the development of sailing, and match racing in particular in the country. It will increase the competitiveness of the sport as well as our rankings. A circuit will give us an early start on preparations for the Monsoon Cup. We can develop our skills and experience, work on communication and co-ordination and develop a strong team. Having a regular team will be an added advantage as this will improve our teamwork.'

Nurul Ain Md. Isa (Ri-Yaz Heritage Sailing Team) commented that previously, the participating teams for the Monsoon Cup were usually selected on an ad-hoc basis. And being the MMRC champion didn’t earn the kind of respect that other regattas commanded as winning could sometimes depend on luck, or having the money or sponsorship to enter the race. With the introduction of the circuit, a more 'serious' team could be set up. 'Also, at least we’ll have a target to follow like other regattas where you start off with SUKMA, followed by Sea Games and the Olympics,' said the sailing coach for Majlis Sukan Negeri Terengganu.

Hazwan Hazim (Permai Hotel Match Racing Team) said 'A circuit needs to be introduced in order to improve the standing of Malaysian sailors, especially those interested in pursuing a career in sailing. To improve the local sailing scene, we need more regattas. This way the sailors have a reason to compete because they can earn a ranking and make a career out of sailing, as is the case of our neighbouring countries, Australia and New Zealand.'

Koo (Abdullah Chan/KRT) felt the circuit was a good idea but that it should have been implemented much earlier. 'It’s good for developing keelboat racing and increasing the level of match racing. There is a lot of potential in Malaysia that is proven by the sailors competing in the MMRC and a circuit will definitely help to improve their performance through practice and experience. The circuit will also allow for a fairer way of deciding the best team that represents Malaysia at the Monsoon Cup because one race alone cannot determine the level of a sailor’s competence.'

Monsoon Cup website
World Match Racing Tour website