by Lisa Heykal
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National squash player Sivasangari Subramaniam is the latest addition to CIMB Group Holdings Bhd (CIMB) list of sports ambassadors. Chief executive officer of group consumer and digital banking Effendy Shahul Hamid said CIMB is steadfast in its efforts to nurture talent and will provide comprehensive support to athletes at various levels of their development. The bank has been awarding sponsorships to local athletes for the past few years. Its roster of sponsored sports athletes includes track cyclist Datuk Azizulhasni Awang and golfer Ervin Chang who was awarded a sponsorship just last month.

“We are eager to play a role in the development of Malaysia’s sports industry in an effort to elevate our national status as a serious contender in squash especially in view of the inclusion of squash in the Los Angeles Olympics games in 2028,” said Effendy. CIMB has been instrumental in Sivasangari’s progress after she joined the CIMB junior squash development program in 2009. 


“She grew and grew, progressing from a budding junior to an elite-level professional athlete,” Effendy added. “This is sort of a homecoming for Sivasangari. We have tracked her career, and we are so pleased she and her family have agreed to continue partnering with us as she sets her sights on the future. She has the mindset and tenacity of a winner, and I expect her to be the source of immense pride for the nation,” he added.


The national squash player was also a recipient of CIMB’s Squash Academic Scholarship by the CIMB Foundation. Sivasangari was granted a full four-year scholarship in 2018 to pursue her tertiary education at Cornell University in New York. She has competed at the university and was recognized as an Ivy League player of the year for two consecutive years.

The partnership signing ceremony was witnessed by Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh.


“The ministry highly appreciates the support from corporate organizations that share our vision and actively contribute to the youth development and advancement of Malaysian sports. This partnership is timely given the inclusion of squash in the Olympics for 2028. I often lament that the efforts of our government alone are insufficient when it comes to funding sports,” said Yeoh. The ministry has an annual budget of RM1bil and it is important for public and private partnerships to be formed to meet the ministry’s objectives, she added. 


Yeoh commended CIMB for its efforts in supporting local athletes and contributing to the nation’s journey to achieving its first Olympic gold medal. “Our athletes often face criticism for not having the mental fortitude to withstand the pressures of competing at high levels. However, this is something that cannot be said about Sivasangari,” she said.

Sivasangari said she was honored to be given the opportunity to partner with CIMB, a brand that is synonymous with playing an active role in supporting many of the great sports talents in the country. “From the nascent phase of my career until now CIMB has played an active role in the development of my professional journey. I am grateful to have been given the support to realize and advance my ambitions as a professional squash player, turning my passion into a rewarding career. I will continue to make Malaysia proud and I look forward to a rewarding partnership ahead with CIMB,” she said.


Sivasangari who hails from Sungai Petani, Kedah, holds the top position in the national ranking and is ranked 15th globally in the world of squash. She has emerged as champion at many national and international tournaments including the British Junior Open, Asian Junior Individual Championship, Commonwealth Youth Games, and recently at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou, in both the individual and team categories.

In 2023, she was given the Betty Richey Award by the Collegiate Squash League, a recognition bestowed upon a senior player who embodies the ideals of squash through her exceptional play, passion for the game, commitment, fair sportsmanship, and high level of skill.

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