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KUALA LUMPUR: The world’s top 16 women players have confirmed participation in the 2012 CIMB Nicol David KL Open Squash Championships here from March 26-31.

Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) president Datuk Syed Mustaffa Syed Ali said among them are world No. 1 Nicol David herself, Jenny Duncalf (No. 2) of England and Joelle King (No. 12) of New Zealand.

“The women’s championship has been upgraded to a Women’s Squash Association (WSA) World Series Gold with an increase in prize purse from US$50,000 to US$60,000,” he said.

Syed Mustaffa said the renaming of the tournament was to honour Nicol’s record breaking sixth world title as well as to give more impact to the championships, particularly the women’s event.

Besides Nicol, the other Malaysian in the main draw is world No. 13 Low Wee Wern. Junior players Delia Arnold and Vanessa Raj will battle it out in the qualifying rounds.

Like previous editions, the championships will be held at two venues – the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil (qualifying and preliminary rounds) and Berjaya Times Square (the quarter-finals to finals).

In the men’s event, defending champion Karim Darwish of Egypt and Malaysians Mohd Azlan Iskandar and Ong Beng Hee will feature in the main draw. – Bernama