IT WAS a fruitful outing for 100 youngsters who picked up useful tips from former national shuttlers during the MKH Badminton Outreach Programme in Sungai Chua, Kajang.
Celebrated doubles players Lee Wan Wah and Chew Choon Eng, alongside volunteers from MKH Bhd, led the energetic and willing children through ice-breaking sessions and coached them on basic skills to prepare for the competition.
The two-day event, organised by Kajang based property developer MKH, consisted of a clinic and tournament aimed at giving the children, aged five to 19, a chance to learn from the pros while encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle.
Seven children’s homes around Kajang, Semenyih and Kuala Lumpur were involved in the team building-style programme where participants were separated into smaller groups to prepare for the following day’s competition.
MKH managing director Datuk Eddy Chen said the timing of the event with SEA Games was no coincidence as they had hoped the clinic and tournament would encourage the children to further build their interest toward the sport.
“As the SEA Games motto goes, we hope to rise together with the children in showing support to the well-loved sport of badminton through this outreach programme.
“We wanted to give them a chance to associate themselves with the stars of the game and we are proud to be able to give them an experience to remember,” he said.
MKH also presented each participant with a brand new Fleet racquet and tubes of shuttlecocks.
The second day of the programme saw the best 60 players return for a friendly competition where they played each other in round robin format.
It did not matter that there were many who were not adept in the game but their tenacity and never-give-up spirit mattered most to the coaches who were all smiles after the competition.
Former national player and professional badminton coach, Choon Eng said giving back to the community was always important and the badminton programme was a good opportunity to do just that.
“It was a truly great experience for me and my team, seeing the children being able to pick up basic badminton skills and apply them in the tournament,” he said.
“They did not have the correct basic badminton skills before the coaching clinic, but they showed great interest in learning.
“I was very happy and impressed with their enthusiasm.
“I believe everyone – including coaches and spectators – had fun in this programme, and it felt good watching them enjoy the matches and cheer for their teams,” Choon Eng added.
During the closing ceremony, current mixed doubles shuttler and Olympic silver medallist Goh Liu Ying made a special appearance to present the awards to the young players along with former doubles player Chan Chong Ming and Chinese actress Agnes Wang.
With the inaugural MKH Badminton Outreach Programme concluded, the property developer plans to continue to spur interest among the youngsters through more activities in the future, with hopes of doubling the number of participants for the next edition.