# Replace Maybank as title sponsors
By Rizal Abdullah
Communications giant Celcom Axiata are the new title sponsors for the Malaysia Open Superseries Premier from this year for a three year period.
Celcom Axiata come on board after previous title sponsors Maybank cut their links with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) at the end of last year. Maybank had been title sponsors since 2011.
This year’s Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open will be held at the Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam from April 5-10. It is one of the most prestigious badminton Premier tournament under the Badminton World Federation (BWF) calendar.
The Malaysia Open is one of the five Superseries Premier events. The others are the All-England Open, Indonesia Open, Denmark Open and the China Open. The Superseries Premier event is the highest level competition in the BWF calendar.
The Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open 2016 will kick-start the new sponsorship after much speculation following Maybank’s withdrawal.
The sponsorship agreement signed at the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya on Monday was a high profile one with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosman Mansor, who is also the patron of BAM, and Youth and Sports Minister YB Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar witnessing the ceremony.
Datuk Seri Shazalli Ramly signed for Celcom Axiata Berhad as its the Chief Executive Officer while Tan Sri Mohamed Al-Amin Abdul Majid signed for the BAM as its acting president.
This year’s Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open will see the top 10 players in the world – including Chen Long, Lin Dan, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Jan O Jorgensen, Kento Momota, Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeong-seong, Carolina Marin, Li Xuerui, Saina Nehwal, Ratchanok Intanon, Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian, Nozomi Okuhara, Sung Ji-hyun and several others competing.
The badminton legends are expected to be the main draw-card for the much awaited tournament as players up their ante to garner points for the Rio Olympics. The Olympic qualifiers come to a close at the end of April.