Monday, October 12, 2009

Malaysian Sports Tourism

irst included in the Formula One World Championship in 1999, the current Malaysian Grand Prix is held at the hyper-modern Sepang International Circuit at Sepang, Malaysia. FIA-sanctioned racing in Malaysia has existed since the 1960s. The nine World Championship Malaysian Grand Prix have seen a good deal of action on and off the track, while the weather – furnace heat one minute, tropical storm the next – adds extra spice. The most notable Grand Prix at Sepang to date was the inaugural event in 1999. It saw Michael Schumacher return to the sport after his absence due to a broken leg sustained at that year's British Grand Prix, dominating the race and handing the victory to title-hopeful team-mate Eddie Irvine, only for both Ferraris to be disqualified due to a technical irregularity, handing the title – until the steward's decision was over-ruled – to Mika Häkkinen.

Since 2001, the Malaysian Grand Prix has moved from the end of the schedule to the beginning, which has seen some topsy-turvy results as teams and drivers get to grips with their new equipment, with many races heavily influenced by the winners and losers of the scramble for position into the tight double hairpin bend at the first corner.
The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) is the venue used for the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix, A1 Grand Prix as well as the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix. It is also used as a venue for many other major motorsport events.
Widely regarded as a benchmark for other Grand Prix venues, the Sepang circuit boasts superb pit garage and media facilities, as well as impressive grandstands and patron amenities. For 2009, the F1 season in Malaysia will be held from 3 to 5 April.

Le Tour de Langkawi.
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The 2009 Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) will feature 20 teams from 9 to 15, starting in Putrajaya, the home of Malaysian government and finishing in the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, with the traditional criterium at Dataran Merdeka.
According to LTdL 2009 Chief of Operations Datuk Naim Mohamad, the selection of the teams has been the hardest ever. “We have received almost 50 bids from different teams from all over the world. It means the seven-day race format suits more teams than before. With a more compact field, we expect an even more challenging race,” he says. As usual, the five continents will be competing in Malaysia for Asia’s biggest stage race.
Naim says they have composed a balanced field with the priority being given to most competitive teams from Europe and America as they are aware of the importance of the Hors-Category status of the event. “Although we are geographically far from the heart of cycling in Europe, we believe in the anti-doping policy put together by the UCI, the professional teams and the race organisers. We support the initiative of the biological passport. Therefore, we have selected nine teams that adhere to the biological passport program and are eligible for the Grand Tours.”
Among these nine teams, four come from the Pro Tour circuit: Garmin-Chipotle from the USA, Ag2r and Bouygues Telecom from France, as well as Fuji-Servetto from Spain. The five Pro Continental teams are Diquigiovanni (Venezuela), CSF (Ireland), Vorarlberg-Corratec (Austria), ISD (Italy) and the Swiss-based Cervélo Test Team of Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre.
“We are very happy to welcome newly born and extremely promising teams like Cervélo and ISD”, Naim quips. “Two years ago, we were the first organisers to invite Slipstream to a H.C. event because we thought this team had a fantastic future. We are also delighted to see them coming back as Garmin-Chipotle with the prestige of being one of the world’s most competitive teams for the Tour de France and the big classics.”
Oceania and Africa will be represented in Malaysia by the Australian and South African national teams respectively. Le Tour de Langkawi is organised by the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF). Other national teams from Asia will be Malaysia, China, Iran and Kazakhstan while Asian continental teams will complete the line up – MCF and LeTua from Malaysia, Meitan-GDR from Japan, Seoul Cycling from Korea and the Doha Team from Qatar for which it will be a first appearance at Le Tour de Langkawi.
The 20 participating teams are Garmin-Chipotle, Ag2r, Bouygues Telecom, Fuji-Servetto, Diquigiovanni, CSF, Vorarlberg-Corratec, ISD, Cervélo, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, MCF, LeTua, Meitan-GDR, Seoul Cyling and Doha Team.
More than 800 million viewers are expected to watch the telecast of Le Tour de Langkawi through sports channels all over the world. The race will be telecast via ESPN, Starsports, Supersports, Eurosports, Total Sports and more apart from the local broadcast stations.

The Monsoon Cup.
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The Monsoon Cup was first initiated by the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during his fishing trip in Terengganu. The Prime Minister thought the monsoon season should be used as an advantage to the state and the people rather than being seen as a hurdle. (Monsoon season usually lasts a few months in a year in Terengganu, mainly between November and January).

The Monsoon Cup 2005 celebrated its inauguration and debut as the 50th official event of the Swedish Match Tour (now known as the World Match Racing Tour), and serves as the Malaysian leg for the prestigious international sailing event. Dubbed 'The Formula One of Sailing', this professional sailing series was formed in 2000 to unite the world's best match-race regattas under one banner.

The World Match Tour comprises 10 events in nine specially selected locations around the world. As the leading professional sailing series in the world, the Tour events are recognised as must-attend regattas on the match-race circuit.  The Monsoon Cup in 2008 offerred the second highest prize money in the world (RM1 million) for a match racing event. Richard Mille is also the official time keeper for the event.

The Monsoon Cup 2009 will be held at Pulau Duyong, Terengganu, from the 1st to 6th December 2009.

Air Gear

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