KUCHING: It was an overwhelming turnout of fans for the four-day 26th World Masters Badminton Championship at Sarawak Indoor Stadium and Sarawak Multipurpose Indoor Arena (existing Lawn Balls Arena) in Petra Jaya.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah took time off from his busy schedule on Saturday to visit the event with his wife Datin Zuraini Abdul Jabbar and Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee. He was glad to see everyone having a good time during the championship which started on Thursday.

Karim, who is also Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister told New Sarawak Tribune on Saturday that even though the day was quite humid and hot during the ongoing matches, it seemed like the weather didn’t affect the players.

Karim (right) and Ong (centre) gesture with Sarawak badminton player Tan Kun Gee (left) in a photo call yesterday during the minister’s visit to the event. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

“The organisers did a great job in between the two halls they had this huge space used for food and beverage sales. It turned out to be a festival-like atmosphere where thirsty and hungry players can go there and have their meals,” he said

For the record, almost 2,000 participants from 20 countries took part in the championship.

Karim added that with such a set up, the ministry could have more sport events organised in the same way in future. “With a huge area in between the 30 badminton courts, we might be able to organise more sport events using the same concept,” he said.

When asked whether he will be in action during the championship, he replied, “ I will be partnering up with former Indonesian great Taufik Hidayat at 10am (yesterday) against World China Badminton Federation president Wu Jun Yan and former Malaysian shuttler Koo Kien Keat.  “I have not played badminton for years but I hope I can last in the friendly doubles match tomorrow,” he jested.

Karim and his wife later went to Kuching Waterfront for the ongoing Sarawak Regatta 2019 which also ended yesterday.