PETALING JAYA: Chin up juniors, you will not be sidelined!
Shuttlers under the care of supremo Datuk Misbun Sidek in the junior programme received a shot in the arm as they will be included in the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) mixed team championships from Nov 6-12 at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM).
It’s pleasant news for the top juniors as they are disappointed over the cancellation of the much-awaited World Junior Championships on Thursday. And playing with the seniors will boost their morale.
National coaching director Wong Choong Hann said he has agreed to expand the tournament with a similar format to the Sudirman Cup by including three more junior events – the boys’ singles, girls’ singles and mixed doubles – all Under-18.
Initially, he had only planned for seven – men’s singles 1, men’s singles 2, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles and three-on-three.
“Misbun and I discussed and we thought this move will truly build the camaraderie between the senior and junior players, ” said Choong Hann.
“It will also facilitate the transition plan when the juniors move into the senior team.
“The seniors can guide them in the team. It will also strengthen the ties between Misbun’s juniors and my elite team, ” he said.
Choong Hann has divided the team into four groups.
“We wanted everyone in the senior team to be involved. We’ve split pairs and ensured that the team are separated into equal strength. It’ll be interesting. I’m just waiting for Misbun to give the names of the juniors to be fielded in each group, ” he said.
The coaches are keeping their fingers crossed that the tournament will go on without any interruption. The plan is to make it like an actual tournament and ensure no one hold their punches, and it may even be shown live.
“We are just hoping that the conditional movement control order will not be extended. If they do, then, we will have to postpone this tournament, ” he added.