Nurturing new talents


weiloon@thestar.com.my 

THE Bakti Siti Hasmah building administration board, led by its chairman Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, has embarked on a sports community project with the launch of Tunas Juara (Budding Champions) Bakti badminton development programme at the Bakti Siti Hasmah building multi-purpose hall last Tuesday .  

The programme was initiated to provide an avenue for children from lower-income families to undergo weekly training sessions under the guidance of four Kuala Lumpur Schools Sports Council (MSSKL) coaches – Seow Cheng Ping, Wong Kok Wai, Ahmad Nawawi Che Ahmad and Mohd Suhaili Yunus. 

Dr Siti Hasmah (right) and Faris wait for the shuttle.

“Champions are not born but made. Building a solid foundation at the grassroots is the only way to achieve success in the future.  

“Children need to be nurtured and guided with the right motivation, enthusiasm and discipline in the pursuit of excellence,” said Dr Siti Hasmah, who officiated the launch. 

Bakti acting president Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Nadzmi Salleh and Federal Territory Education Department director Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim were also present at the launch. 

Nadzmi credited Bakti for sharing the same vision with BAM to produce an abundance of talents for the future. 

“We are pleased that Bakti is assisting us in junior development by creating a broader base at grassroots.  

The programme is an avenue to identify potential talents. 

“In the past, we have experienced a drought after a good spell at international level. Although we have achieved world-class status in the game, we need talents to come through to continue to have a strong national team. 

“Today, we realised that badminton is also competing with other sports to unearth talents.  

“It is great that Bakti has given badminton the main priority. BAM is willing to provide Bakti with the technical expertise whenever it is needed,” said Nadzmi. 

Rosmah urging Nurul Syafiqah on during their match.

A total of 34 children, comprising 13 boys and 21 girls from various races aged between eight and 10 years old, were selected to join the programme. 

Nine-year-old Mohd Faris Udin from SK Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah was among the trainees drafted into the programme.  

“We are grateful that Faris has been given the opportunity to nurture his interest in the game,” said Faris’s father Udin Zahari, 43, a government servant. 

At the launch, Faris also had the privilege to team up with Dr Siti Hasmah for a friendly match against the partnership of Nurul Syafiqah Rusli, 10, from SJK (C) Chiao Nan and Rosmah. 

“Although we lost, I had fun on the court,” said Faris, who took up the game three years ago. 

Melbourne Commonwealth Games mixed team gold medal winning cast of Lee Chong Wei, Wong Choong Hann, Chong Tan Fook, Koo Kien Keat, Chan Chong Ming, Wong Mew Chew, Chin Ee Hui, Wong Pei Tty and Ooi Sock Ai also turned up to inspire the youngsters. 

In addition, Choong Hann and Tan Fook also went on court to spar with several players. 

“It is a good sign that the trainees are showing their eagerness in picking up the game,” said Dr Siti Hasmah. 

The programme is conducted with the co-operation from Federal Territory Education Department and sponsorships from Nestle and Yonex. 

“We plan to set up similar programme at more centres in the future,” said Rosmah.  

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