PETALING JAYA: Junior shuttlers below the age of 16 will not join the national programme at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) from 2024 onwards.
Only juniors aged 16 and above will be housed and developed at ABM while those between 14 and 15 will stay with their families and train at their respective states.
The decision was made by the Task Force for Junior Development under chairman and Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) deputy president Datuk V. Subramaniam following input from national coaching director Rexy Mainaky and junior head coach Jeffer Rosobin, as well as research papers on the holistic development of junior athletes.
Current 14 to 15-year-olds at the ABM will remain as the decision will only impact the 2024 intake onwards.
In order to support youngsters who have shown outstanding potential but are under 16, ABM will provide additional support in the form of monthly allowances and financial support for the player’s participation in tournaments.
The juniors’ training programme will also be provided and monitored by Jeffer and Rexy and the players will be invited to join the training at ABM during school holidays.
“The decisions by the Task Force are in line with BAM’s aim to decentralise the development of badminton and to get more stakeholders involved,” said BAM president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria.
“It gives our state associations, coaches and parents at the grassroots level the opportunity to work longer with young players, up to the age of 15 years old before those selected are absorbed into the ABM.
This will ultimately widen the number of players undergoing systematic training and will augur well for the future,” added Norza.
Subramaniam said: “We believe that allowing players below 15 to stay with their families is crucial in developing the players’ maturity, mental and emotional well-being.
“In return, they will be able to focus better on their training.
“Historical data have also shown that players who joined the national team at 16 years old are not at a disadvantage compared to those joining at a younger age.
“We are also looking forward to working closely with the clubs and state associations in identifying and supporting younger players in their development.”