KUALA LUMPUR: With the financial burden finally lifted off their shoulders, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will retrieve their shelved plans to set Malaysia on the road to win honours consistently on the world stage.
The BAM president, Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, said yesterday that the bulk of the government’s funding would be used to strengthen badminton in the states.
Badminton is one of the eight sports that will receive special aid from the government in their efforts to achieve world excellence. The other sports on the list are squash, bowling, aquatics, athletics, gymnastics, hockey and football.
Except for football, which was selected based on its popularity, the others are sports in which Malaysian athletes have the potential to become world-beaters.
With an ultimate goal to achieve glory in the Olympics, Nadzmi said that they had plans to set up a training centre in every state to re-ignite the passion in the game and to ensure that the potential players were tapped from all corners of the country.
“We made the plans a long time ago but the lack of funds prevented us from doing many things,” said Nadzmi.
“Now that we will get the government’s backing, we want each state to have its own training centre. We are looking at centres with at least 10 courts. There will also be full-time qualified coaches and full-time managers in every centre. The clubs in the state can also utilise these facilities.”
Currently, only Perlis, Selangor, Kuaa Lumpur, Malacca, Sarawak and Kelantan have their own hubs of excellence.
“Some of them are on rented properties while some centres have grossly inadequate facilities. We will help the states to get the groundwork ready and ultimately, we want the states to be financially independent.”
Nadzmi added that first, knowledge in the sport needed to be enhanced.
“Without knowledge, we will not go anywhere. We want our base to be strong in all aspects. We want to strengthen the administration teams, improve on the coaching techniques, apply sports science in our coaching and training methods, and conduct researches and studies to ensure that we are heading in the right direction.”
There will also be wider scope in the scouting of talent.
“For the BAM, the players come first, then the coaches followed by all the supporting teams,” said Nadzmi.
“We can have the best facilities and programmes but it can still be a failure if we do not source for the right material. I believe talent scouting is vital and we will channel some money to identify these talent.”
There are also plans to have better training facilities for the national training centre and the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS).
“We are looking at new premises for our national training centre to accommodate at least 30-35 players. There will be experts in all areas to get players ready for tournaments and there will be better facilities. We will also engage full-time masseurs and even nutritionists,” said Nadzmi.
“The BJSS is also an integral part of our set-up. The group of players there are at an age where they can be easily distracted. We plan to get counsellors to manage them and experts in guiding them – from training to the intake of food – throughout the five years there (Form One to Form Five).”
The BAM are also looking at creating a more exciting domestic league. There are plans to host international and local junior tournaments to keep the best players in the states on their toes.
Another area that the BAM will be looking at channelling their money to is on ICT (Information and Communication Technology). The IT network will help BAM stay connected with the states.
With the government’s help, Nadzmi was confident that badminton would produce the desired results.
“We will have the funds now. And if we still cannot do it (to achieve excellence), we certainly have to kick ourselves in the back,” he said.
“But having said that, I hope that everything will be implemented efficiently. We need suitable people to execute their tasks well.
“We have always talked about changes. Let's hope that there will be action this time. On our part, we are ready to make this happen.”
More details on the BAM plans are expected to be announced after a meeting between the BAM and the government’s working committee.