By Martin Yee
KUCHING, Jan 23: It could be the answer to Sarawak’s lack of success in badminton in such tournaments as the Sukma competitions but the Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) CEO Dr Ong Kong Swee is confident his latest programme on youth development is a good start and an innovative idea.
With the help of the Kuching Badminton Association (KBA) the SSC will start their 18 series SSC Sarawak Junior Badminton Circuit which will kick off at the multi purpose hall sports arena at Petra Jaya here on Feb 6-7.
The series of competitions which is the first of its kind ever organised in the country, will be held in various towns in Sarawak starting with Kuching, Samarahan, Serian and Bau.
It will then be shifted to Betong, Sri Aman, Mukah, Sibu, Kapit, Sarikei, Bintulu, Miri, Lawas and Limbang.
The format and rules of the competitions is quite unique for it is open to any players below the age of 15 and without the need to be affiliated to any clubs or associations.
All they need to do is register online, pay the fees of RM30 in registration fee, where every participant will get a free T-shirt and a synthetic shuttlecock and an additional RM10 for the ID which serves as a licence for the player to play throughout the year.
Unlike in normal tournaments, anyone can play without affiliated to any clubs or associations as the aim is to build a large pool of players the cream of which will be picked for the Pusat Cemerlang or centre of excellence.
Ong jointly told a press conference yesterday that such tournaments is the first of its kind ever held in states like Selangor or even Sarawak.
It was in fact supposed to be organised earlier but was delayed due to the Covet 19 pandemic so now following the SOP they had to get on with it to provide an avenue for young talents throughout the state the opportunities to be developed as future badminton champion players.
KBA head coach Johnny Ng, who was also at the press conference, said the circuit, which is a good way to trigger off the talent scouting as they concentrate on the 15 and below age group of players, will be looking for the under 8, under 12 and under 14 players.
“It is also to build up a pool of young players to be selected top players who will be absorbed into the Pusat Cermelang.
“Unlike other tournaments, any players can register online as long as they fit the age criteria of 15 and below, “ he said.
Ng said such a series of tournaments being organised will trigger every divisions and this kind of programme is only possible with the funding from the SSC.
“You register online and just come in and play and there will be a ranking system where the top players will be selected.
“The players will play several rounds in a tournament as it is not a knock out and after playing three series then the players will be ranked,” he said.
Ng said such series of tournaments will ignite interests as they concentrate to get players in the 11, 13 and 15 age groups.
He said the association aims to attract the initial figure of more than 300 players but due to the onslaught of the Covet 19 pandemic and its aftermath they had to keep the figure to a realistic more than 100. — DayakDaily