KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — National shuttlers under the Road to Tokyo (RTT) programme are likely to return to training at the Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) by June 1 pending approval from the National Security Council (NSC) and the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS).
Training sessions for national athletes came to a halt after the movement control order (MCO) came into the force on March 18 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) President, Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria has also decided to invite independent players who are most likely to qualify for Tokyo Olympics based on the current Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings to train twice a week at ABM with the national squad by the middle of July.
“In the interest of both the nation and the national badminton squad, I have decided to invite the independent players. Once these players have confirmed their qualification for the Tokyo Olympics, they shall be invited to train full-time at ABM.
“I certainly hope these players will take this opportunity to work as one Malaysian team and at the same time, work harder to achieve the Olympic dream. After the recent meeting with Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, BAM has begun proactively preparing for our national players’ return to ABM.
“As the President of BAM, I have taken the utmost diligence to ensure that both BAM and ABM are ready to gradually open. The ABM houses the players, coaches, and the BAM administrative office thus all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been stepped up and will be followed to the strictest degree,” he said in a statement.
Norza stressed that additional precautionary measures would be implemented for the safety of everyone within the premise.
Among the independent shuttlers in the run for a Tokyo ticket are Rio 2016 silver medallists, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles) and Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (men’s doubles).
Norza, who expects the Thomas and Uber Cup squads to begin training from June 15th, wants the teams to put up a good showing at the Thomas and Uber Cup after both tournaments were rescheduled to Oct 3-11 in Aarhus, Denmark due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“As we want the best players available to represent Malaysia, I would like to extend the invitation to the independent players to join this team in this tournament as well. The independent players that are selected will be invited to train at ABM by the middle of July 2020.
“This is with the hope that these players will be able to train together and at the same time, build ‘esprit de corps’ amongst them. As BAM is taking such pro-active steps, I certainly hope that the players will be able to do well and at the same time, bring glory to our beloved country, Malaysia,” he said. — Bernama