SUBANG: Trust Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria to keep his word.
Yesterday, Norza relinquished two important posts as soon as he was officially elected as the president at the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) annual general meeting (AGM).
He gave up the positions as the National Sports Institute (NSI) chairman and Kuala Lumpur Badminton Association (KLBA) president. Norza, who turns 51 on Aug 29, has already given up the treasurer’s post at the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).
“I’ve been told that I wear too many hats. I’ve reduced it to a minimal level. As the new BAM president, I’ll have better focus and time management on badminton now. It’s the right thing to do,” said Norza, who will continue his duty as the deputy president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).
And yesterday, Norza, known for his hands-on approach, went straight to business. He announced his office bearers for the next four-year cycle from 2017-2021 and revealed his grand and ambitious plans to take Malaysian badminton to greater heights.
Norza’s heart is set on BAM’s new National Badminton Foundation (NBF).
He said: “The foundation will consist of a board of governors from different corporate sectors and badminton legends. It’ll perform three main functions.
“It’ll assist in the funding of the current and upcoming badminton academies. It’ll provide opportunities for the ex-players and badminton officials to build new careers. It’ll also provide scholarships for deserving young players.”
Norza has also instructed the setting up of four more national badminton academies to expand the talent pool.
“It’ll be set up in the northern and southern regions, the east coast and east Malaysia. We currently have one – the RM30mil Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) – in Bukit Kiara, but one is not enough,” he said,
“I’ll get all the states and other stakeholders to work together. It’s not easy but I’ve set five years to fulfil this task.”
He also listed two initiatives to increase the talent pool by creating two leagues for the professionals and amateurs.
“We’ll launch a National Badminton Team League. Every state will be represented by their professionals and it’ll be played under the Sudirman Cup format. The amateur league will involve clubs and districts.”
Ultimately, Norza wants Malaysia to win the gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as the Thomas Cup.
“To achieve these two targets, we need to get it right at the lower level.
“We can’t even produce a decent singles player now ... we surely have work in our hands. Fans want to see the successors for Lee Chong Wei.
“Honestly, we’ve not done that bad in recent times. I’m confident with team work we can only move forward,” said Norza.