WMU News

Malaysian Midwest Games at WMU May 25-27

May 18, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University will take on the air of an Olympic sports complex Friday through Sunday, May 25-27, when it plays host to Midwest Games 2001.

The event brings some 500 Malaysian international students from across the United States to the Midwest each year for a weekend of spirited athletic competition. Malaysian students comprise WMU's second largest group of international students.

Iraz Syamil Mohd Zahari, chairperson of WMU's organizing committee for the 2001 games, says the event fosters sportsmanship and camaraderie among the participating Malaysian student teams in addition to promoting school pride and friendly institutional rivalries.

"The games date back to the 1970s and started out as a modest athletic congregation of Malaysian students studying at Midwestern schools and has grown tremendously in popularity," says Syamil, a senior from the Malaysian state of Johor who is majoring in mechanical engineering and political science.

"Now, this is a much-anticipated event that draws students from states as far away as Texas and California and even countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom."

The largest Midwest Games in history took place in 1997, the only other time WMU played host to the event, and attracted more than 600 participants. Last year's games were held at Purdue University.

Syamil notes that the public is invited to view the athletic competitions as well as attend the opening ceremony, which will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 26, at Kanley Track. Officiating at the event will be Ahmad Shahizan Abdul Samad, counsel general for the Malaysian Consulate General office in New York.

Spectators attending the ceremony will be able to welcome competitors to campus, then enjoy a brunch at 10:30 a.m. and obtain detailed information about the various athletic contests scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Sports being featured this year include men's and women's badminton, soccer, tennis and volleyball. Competition venues will be the Student Recreation Center, the Valley Intramural Fields and Sorensen Courts.

A private closing ceremony and medals presentation will be staged at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in Kalamazoo's Radisson Plaza Hotel in conjunction with a 1995 academic awards initiative of the Malaysian government called Ambassador Award Night. The Malaysian ambassador to the United States, Dato' Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid, will present both the athletic medals and the academic awards.

Ambassador Award Night recognizes the academic and extracurricular achievements of Malaysian students studying in the United States who graduate in April or June of each year. Recipients are nominated by their respective universities and are chosen by the Malaysian Student Department in Washington, D.C., based on their grade point averages and active involvement in student organizations and community service activities.

Midwest Games 2001 is being sponsored by WMU, the University's Malaysian Student Organization, private Malaysian institutions, and the Malaysian Student departments in Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles.

Anyone wishing to volunteer at the event or to be a funding, products or services sponsor is encouraged to contact Felicia Ng Soo Lee in the Malaysian Student Organization by at 616 381-4211 or <feliciang@yahoo.com>.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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