ACE Sports and Management Sparks Squash Fever Across Asia Following Ace Malaysia Squash Cup Triumph and Olympic Aspirations
Malaysia’s ACE Sports and Management is spearheading the expansion of professional squash across Asia, buoyed by the success of its inaugural Ace Malaysia Squash Cup 2023 and a series of satellite tournaments held throughout the year.
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) Southeast Asian leg of the World Tour, a Bronze level tournament, brought together squash titans in Seremban, witnessing three Malaysian players reaching the semifinals amid the resounding support of local fans.
In addition to the prestigious Bronze level tournament, ACE successfully organised 13 satellite tournaments across Malaysia, providing national junior professionals with opportunities to enhance their PSA rankings without the financial burden of overseas competitions.
Chandran, ACE Sports and Management CEO, expressed gratitude for the support from local entities, including the sports ministry, state tourism, and the Squash Racquet Association of Malaysia (SRAM). Chandran declared, “We’re here to stay. Over the next five years, we’ll be pushing the boundaries in Malaysia and Asia to bring world-class tournaments to the region’s sporting landscape.”
Post the ACE Malaysia Squash Cup, Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold achieved a career-high world ranking of No. 24 in the women’s category after a spectacular semifinals win fueled by the roaring home crowd.
The ACE-organised event, licensed by the PSA, marked a historic achievement as the first private sports management company to run a World Series tournament globally. PSA Official for World Series Events, Engy Elmandouh, praised the tournament’s success, calling it “phenomenal” and commending the Malaysian experience and culture embraced by both staff and players.
SRAM Director Major (Rtd) S. Maniam commended ACE for going about promoting squash “the correct way” with the focus on producing more world class players.
“The year-long satellite tournaments is something that I really feel has produced the requisite results in getting our young players to get ranking points in the PSA.”
Maj. Maniam said with squash making its debut in the LA28 Olympics companies and state organisations in the region should step up and start running events, noting that while Malaysia, India and Hong Kong are taking the lead, younger squash nations like Singapore, Bangladesh and the Philippines are also now coming into the fray.
“ACE has started the ball rolling for everyone to emulate to the point that we produce more world class players.”
The Bronze event, hosted in Negeri Sembilan’s new squash facility, garnered substantial viewership on various platforms. ACE’s report indicates a record-breaking 3 million viewers with over 4 million video views on social media platforms and 33 thousand views on official broadcaster Squash TV worldwide. Astro Awani also broadcasted the semifinals and final matches live across Malaysia.
Chandran commented, “We did the Bronze tournament and bankrolled it ourselves to have people believe and be completely inspired by squash. We are creating a dream for our regional players, to have them aspire and hope.”
Confident in ACE’s trajectory, he highlighted the importance of their young team’s understanding of online reach, noting, “The Olympic inclusion has now elevated the sport and given it a new lifeline beyond PSA.”
ACE’s commitment to fostering a competitive environment for junior players extends to Asia, starting with Indonesia. Talks are underway with Jakarta to organise three satellite tournaments and two challenger series in collaboration with the Jakarta Squash Association.
In 2024, ACE plans to focus on running successful satellite tournaments for both men and women, four Challenger series – two 3k and 6k each, and another Bronze-level tournament to attract top squash players worldwide.
In collaboration with Cairo-based Faragallah Squash and Fitness Academy (FSA), ACE aims to organise squash clinics across Malaysia, elevating coaching standards.
The ACE Malaysia Cup Satellite series 2023 showcased international talents from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Egypt, Korea, Japan, and Indonesia. Malaysians Duncan Lee and Whitney Isabelle saw a leap in their world rankings and exposure as they emerged as the biggest victors in the 13-circuit tournament.