12 teams compete in Pickleball Novice Challenge

A pickleball practice session at Miri Tennis Complex

BY JACINTHA JOLENE

MIRI: A total of 12 teams competed in the Pickleball Novice Challenge at the Miri Tennis Complex on Jan 22. 

According to a statement issued on Thursday (Jan 27), Mahammed Faridz and Zachary Macchesney emerged as the winner, followed by Sulibtisam Sulaiman and Winny Sia in second place while Sheena Hayani Narawi and Ahmed Rizwan were placed third.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Miri Division as part of the continuation of the recent Free Pickleball Workshop held on Dec 11 with 45 registered participants joining. 

New players received two hours of pickleball fundamentals during the free class. Prior to the challenge, the players were given weekly pickleball practice and games sessions to improve their methods and skills.

The next free workshop will be held in March 2022 and a similar programme development shall be drafted out to allow new players to start picking up the sport and later into competition stage.

“Pickleball is a fun and exciting sport that promotes an active lifestyle. It’s a sport for all ages, which combines badminton, tennis and ping-pong.

“The sport was invented in 1965 in the United States. It is now played in more than 69 countries,” added the statement. 

The world governing body, International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) is in the process to put the sport into the Olympics as early as 2028.

In Malaysia, the Malaysia Pickleball Association (MPA) is the national body. The sport was first started in Sarawak and later expanded to Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Sabah. 

Penang, Malacca and Pahang are expected to start pickleball by the first half of 2022.

The upcoming tournaments will be the GCM Pickleball Tournament, Miri Open and the Sarawak Interdivision.

In Sarawak, the sport is under the Sarawak Pickleball Association and Miri, being the birthplace of the sport, has around 80-100 players playing during the weekend.  The current venues for pickleball are Gymkhana Club Miri, Miri Tennis Complex, Piasau Boat Club, Kelab Rekreasi Petroliam (KRP), Champion Pickleball Court and Southlake Clubhouse.

Novice Challenge Winners with the referees (from left to right) Erik, Delima, Winny, Sulibtisam, Mohammed Faridz, Zachary, Sheena, Ahmed Rizwan, Harmeet
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