Kuala Lumpur: Sports Affairs Badminton Club with the support of Ministry Of Youth and Sports, Malaysian Sports Council and the Badminton Association of Malaysia launched Juara Tangkis Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah on Wednesday. This nationally endorsed badminton tournament and developmental program will be managed by the Club’s Head Coach and Program Director, Rashid Sidek, former world top shuttler and part of the winning 1992 Thomas Cup squad.
Officiated by Ramona Binti Mohd Razali, Deputy Secretary General (Strategic) from Ministry of Youth and Sports, Juara Tangkis Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah is a tribute to Malaysia’s most treasured supporter of badminton, YABhg. Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah who was also present during the event. The platform sees eight Malaysian badminton legends coming together with the objectives of identifying, nurturing and establishing future Malaysian badminton champions.
Ramona said, “The Ministry of Youth and Sports fully supports the initiatives of Juara Tangkis Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah as it provides a pathway to identify new potential badminton players. I believe that this program will be a good platform to find and provide the opportunity for youths out there to sharpen their talents and skills to go to greater heights.”
The eight legends steering Juara Tangkis Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah consist of Malaysia’s Thomas Cup and Olympic squad members from different generations: Foo Kok Keong, Cheah Soon Kit, Rahman Sidek, Ong Ewe Hock, Roslin Hashim, Zakry Latif, Koo Kien Keat and Woon Khe Wei.
These Malaysian badminton legends will form eight teams with 12 players each competing for the finals of Piala Juara Tangkis Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah to be held in December 2019.
Potential players will be selected based on recommendation and assessment from the State Badminton Associations and active badminton clubs from across the country. The legends are also allowed to recommend their own selection for this program. The players chosen must be of those outside of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS).
Rashid Sidek, Club’s Head Coach and Program Director said “It has been 27 years since we won Thomas Cup in 1992. I am especially excited to kick-start this program as we identify new high potential talents, assess their passion and commitment towards the sport particularly their desire to win. This platform is about creating the opportunity for aspiring badminton players out there as well as promoting our youth’s interest towards our national sport. Badminton isn’t only about winning, it unites us when we come together as a nation to celebrate sportsmanship and victory”.
“Naming it after our first lady of badminton is very apt for no one has been as much of an avid fan and supporter of Malaysian badminton than Tun Dr. Siti. The Thomas Cup victory of 1992 is still such a vivid and proud moment in our nation’s sporting history, and the memory of Tun Dr. Siti waving our national flag and celebrating in each and every game is symbolic of that day”, added Rashid.
Raezal Hussein, President of Sports Affairs Badminton Club said “We are looking to train aspiring badminton players in five categories: boys single, girls single, mixed double, boys double and girls double. In order to reach more potential players; in our inaugural year we will be organising nationwide roadshows and coaching clinics from October until the end of November 2019. States include Kedah, Pahang, Johor, Sarawak, Sabah and Kuala Lumpur – as we aim to fuel interest as well as educate our youth about badminton.”
Concluding the programme, Raezal praised the continuous support of Apacs Sports Sdn Bhd, who are the official equipment sponsor of Juara Tangkis Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah. He also acknowledged the presence and endorsement of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Malaysian Sports Council as well as the Badminton Association of Malaysia for providing their enthusiastic endorsement and support for the initiative.
The launch was also attended by Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria, President of Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and Jessica Lim, Managing Director of Apacs Sports Sdn Bhd.
(article: iOli Communications)