January 11 - Penang in Malaysia has stepped in to host the delayed 2013 Women's World Squash Championships, it was announced today.
This follows the failure to land a host city within the calendar year despite various places, including Egypt and Hong Kong, being rumoured as potential venues before eventually failing to deliver.
Penang has now stepped in to host the week long event - due to begin on March 14 - that will still be called the 2013 World Championships despite the fact it is now 2014.
This announcement by the Women's Squash Association (WSA) comes as an early 2014 boost for squash following frustrating year in which the sport also failed in its attempt to be added to the 2020 Olympic programmee.
It finished third behind wrestling and a combined baseball and softball bid at last September's International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires - its third consecutive failure to gain admission to the Games.
It will mark the third occasion the sport's premier women's event has been staged in Malaysia but the first time in the Penang region which harbours extra significance because it is the home of the winner of the last five editions Nicol David.
Appropriately, early rounds of the the event, which boasts a $120,000 (£73,000/€88,000) prize-fund, will take place at the Nicol David International Squash Centre with the later stages being hosted on an all-glass showcourt at the 10,000-seater Penang International Sports Arena.
Penang, which hosted the Women's World Junior Championships in 2001, has a great tradition of developing squash talent and is also the home of another contender in world number six Low Wee Wern as well as men's star Ong Beng Hee.
"The Penang State Government has really made this a special moment for me and also Low Wee Wern - having the World Championship in our very own hometown in Penang," said David.
"After winning my fifth World title, there was talk by the state Government on how they would be able to bring the World Championships to Penang one day.
"This support by them taking a huge role in hosting the 2013 World Championship is truly amazing - I'm looking forward to sharing my hometown with the top WSA players from all over the world.
"Glad to know that we players are given a chance to compete for the 2013 world title in Penang!"
This enthusiasm was shared by other figures who were delighted that the Championships will go ahead.
Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer, chairman of the WSA, described it as "fantastic news for the WSA to be able announce this event," and revealed how she was "grateful to Penang and everyone involved for their dedication and continued support."
"I have no doubt that the players share my excitement and will be looking forward to a fantastic World Championships," she added.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was similarly pleased when she explained how the decision is "recognition that Penang has the facilities, amenities and infrastructure of a fitting location for a world class event as well as the experience and expertise to organise a World Championships."
"The Penang state Government felt it was a real shame that Penang's very own world squash queen will not be able to add to her already impressive collection of seven world titles earned in 2005, 2006 and between 2008 and 2012," she continued.
"Malaysians, especially Penangites, are eagerly awaiting her to defend her title for a record eighth time."
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