KUALA LUMPUR: Eight national badminton legends have joined forces to take charge of a badminton development programme to scout, train and horn the skills of 96 future champions.
The legends comprise former members of the 1992 triumphant Thomas Cup team and national Olympics squad such as Foo Kok Keong, Cheah Soon Kit, Rahman Sidek, Ong Ewe Hock, Roslin Hashim, Zakry Latif, Koo Kien Keat and Woon Khe Wei.
Through the Badminton Champion development programme and national-level meets, eight teams made up of 12 players will be formed to compete in the Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Badminton Championship to be held in December.
Programme director and former national singles champion Rashid Sidek said potential squad members will be selected based on suggestions and evaluations of state badminton associations and badminton clubs.
“These pool of legends can also nominate their own players for the programme but they will have to come from those who have no ties with the Badminton Association of Malaysia and the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS),” he said in the programme’s opening speech, here today.
Rashid said he was very excited to lead the programme aimed at identifying new talent and their passion for the game.
The programme will allow pave the way for badminton players with great ambitions and also attract the younger generation to pick up the game.
“Badminton is not just about winning, but also a platform to unite when we display sportsmanship in our quest to win as a team,” he said.
Meanwhile, BAM president Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said the initiative taken by programme organisers, Sports Affairs, was in line with the association’s mission to source future potential talent.
“As the sport’s national governing body, a programme like this is seen as an additional measure to complement existing development programmes. I am concerned on what’s going on at the grassroots level, and BAM welcomes new talent from this programme into the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM).
“The same applies for the players from BJSS who get into ABM. We want to make ABM a prestigious institution of the game. — Bernama