World-class sailing action heads to Malaysia for Monsoon Cup

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (4E Sports) – World-class sailing action comes to Terengganu, Malaysia for the Monsoon Cup, which will be held from December 3-8 at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa.

As the eighth and final event on the World Match Racing Tour 2012, the Monsoon Cup is considered as the ultimate match racing prize as it is where the ISAF World Match Racing champion will be crowned.

The Monsoon Cup has gained prominent status on the World Tour, winning the “Best Event” status twice. It offers the highest prize purse on the Tour — 1.475 million Malaysian Ringgit ($475,000) with the winner set to earn MYR 310,000 ($100,000)

Last year, Ian Williams and Team GAC Pindar ruled the event after Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie won it in 2010.

Aside from Williams, other big-name sailors who will see action in the Monsoon Cup are Johnie Berntsson of Berntsson Sailing Team, Peter Gilmour of Yanmar Racing, Phil Robertson of Waka Racing Team, Keith Swinton of Black Swan Racing, Bjorn Hansen of Mekonomen Sailing Team, Simon Ferrarese of Ferrarese Racing Team, Laurie Jury of Kiwi Match Sailing and Pierre-Antoine Morvan of Vannes Agglo Sailing Team.

During the press conference for the event, former Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi expects the Monsoon Cup to go on for years to come.

“This is only the eighth year Tbest Events has organized the Monsoon Cup in Pulau Duyong, already it has become an icon of the state. We should maintain the icons and traditions built, similar to Wimbledon and Monte Carlo that has long histories of an event catapulting a location into tremendous growth,” Badawi said.

Badawi has initiated the Monsoon Cup in 2005 to serve as a catalyst for economic growth for the state of Terengganu. Organized in the months of November to December, the event spurred economic activities for local businesses in the traditionally slow monsoon season.

Since its inception, the event has various roles and functions including the development of Pulau Duyong and increase in local tourism activities, aside from sports development and the creation of a marine industry in Terengganu.

Local businesses enjoy increased revenue, with hotels experiencing anywhere between 60 to 100 percent occupancy rates.

“The people of Terengganu look forward to the Monsoon Cup every year. The city lights up with a hive of activities and businesses flourish. The event has created a new perception for the tourism industry of the state,” said Ahmad Fathil Abdul Ghani, head of Head of Visit Terengganu Year 2013 Secretariat .

“There is a change in the sector with the debunking of the monsoon myth, seeing increased tourist arrivals in the monsoon season. The event is also a tourism icon of the state which involves the local food and trade industries,” he added.

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