LONDON, April 5 (Bernama) -- The annual Malaysian Easter Games held since 2011 was a whole different affair this year when it was held at the Queens Park Rangers Academy here, the English Premier League outfit owned by Air Asia Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
The academy at Heston Sports Ground also houses sporting facilities for Imperial College London and is situated near London Heathrow International Airport boosting five football and two rugby pitches, tennis and netball courts, cricket facilities, tennis courts, bowling green, gyms and a shooting range.
The Games saw participating Malaysian teams from the United Kingdom, France and Germany plus teams from other ASEAN countries such as Laos and Indonesia competing in football, netball, badminton and rugby.
"This is indeed a good platform for students to meet new friends in a competitive environment.
"This year's Easter Games is extra special as we are joined by our brothers from ASEAN. We hope more teams from other ASEAN countries would join us next year," Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Dato Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi said during the opening ceremony.
Meanwhile, the head of the organising committee, Meor Muhd Arief Muzaffar Meor Azli said such a platform encouraged sportsmanship and bring the spirit of togetherness among Malaysians overseas.
"We hope to do even better next year by inviting Malaysian students from other European countries and student councils from other ASEAN countries here," said Arief, who is also chairman of Kelab UMNO London.
Ashween Shaun from Animals FC, a finance student from University of Sussex said this year's venue was an excellent choice and would help players to develop their game.
"I am really impressed with the organisation of Easter Games this year especially getting this ground and facilities. As an avid footballer, the field was decent enough to play some quality football," said Ashween, who had a short stint with Harimau Muda B and attended several trials with Birmingham City, Torquay North End, Bristol Rovers and Preston North End when he was 19.
The games was co-sponsored by several Malaysian restaurants and travel agencies in London, and supported by the FitMalaysia programme under Ministry of Youth and Sports, Tourism Malaysia and Sabah state government.
Also present was Laos Ambassador to United Kingdom Sayakane Sisouvong.