Squash: Old Chang Kee Singapore Open returns with a strong field

Ong Beng Hee (in blue) defeats Valentino Bong in the final of Old Chang Kee Singapore Squash Open at the Kallang Squash Centre on Dec 21, 2014.
Ong Beng Hee (in blue) defeats Valentino Bong in the final of Old Chang Kee Singapore Squash Open at the Kallang Squash Centre on Dec 21, 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Defending champion and two-time Asian Games champion Ong Beng Hee headlines this year's Old Chang Kee Singapore Open held at the Kallang Squash Centre.

The 35-year-old Malaysian will compete in the men's premier category while compatriot Delia Arnold, the world No. 18 and a semi-finalist at the British Open in May, will be the top seed in the women's event.

The Dec 16-20 tournament will feature more than 350 players from 12 countries including Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, India, Macau, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe.

There will be 12 categories, the men's and women's premier, men's masters and division 1 and four junior age groups for boys and girls.

Leading the local charge will be Singapore's SEA Games gold medallist Vivian Rhamanan, who turned pro recently. He is seeded joint-third in the men's premier while national teammates Samuel Kang and Marcus Phua, who were part of the Republic's team that won silver at the Games in June, are both seeded joint-fifth.

Former local legend Peter Hill, once ranked in the world's top-10, will compete in the men's masters category.

The Singapore Open is organised by the Singapore Squash Rackets Association and the the junior division is sanctioned by the Asian Squash Federation. Participants will earn points to boost both their Asian and World Junior rankings.

Local food company Old Chang Kee came onboard as title sponsors last year and had pledged $200,000 for five years.

Matches in the junior events begin from 9am while the senior matches start at 6pm. The women's and men's premier final will be on Sunday at 1.40pm and 2.20pm respectively. Entry is free to all matches.