KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry, with help from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), plan to set up centres of excellence for the sport in every state in an effort to provide better training programmes and facilities to players.
The ministry's director of sports, Haji Adnan Ibrahim, said that having these centres would ensure that budding shuttlers from the Under-12 to Under-18 age-groups were well-prepared to move up the ranks.
“Only athletics are now required to set up centres of excellence in each state but we hope to have the same centres for badminton because we must fully nurture talent from the grassroots level,” said Adnan after signing a three-year sponsorship deal between the Malaysian School Sports Council (MSSM) and Sunrise Sports Sdn Bhd, the marketers of Yonex, here yesterday.
Under the deal, the company will provide badminton equipment and cash rewards to schools throughout the country worth about RM1 million.
The company will also sponsor the top two players from each state for overseas school tournaments after the national championships in Kelantan in May. The MSSM inter-school competitions begin next month followed by the inter-district tournament in March before concluding its schedule in Kota Baru.
Adnan, however, said that matters on location and when these centres would begin operations would be discussed further between the District Sports Councils and the state badminton associations.
He also said that the schools must take the initiative to inculcate interest for the sport among their students.
“It is now up to the schools to make full use of this new allocation. “We (the ministry) can try to get sponsorship but if the schools fail to do their part, everything will be wasted,” said Adnan.
“The NSC (National Sports Council) have listed badminton as one of the 22 sports which has reached or with high potential to attain world-class standards. The schools must realise their important role to identify and nurture the country's future badminton stars.”
Meanwhile, the BAM's finance and administration manager, Gangga Rao, said that the association passed the proposal to set up centres in every state last year.
“The BAM plan to build a hall for every state badminton association to serve as the centre of excellence.
“However, it will only be decided after discussions with the respective state sports councils,” said Gangga.
“We feel that if the state BAs have the necessary infrastructure, it will be easier for us to implement the programmes through these centres.”