Mission accomplished for legends

JUARA Tangkis Tun Dr Siti Hasmah, a nationally endorsed badminton tournament and developmental platform, wrapped up its inaugural hunt for future badminton champions in a three-day tournament.

Ninety-six finalists were divided into eight teams, each coached and led by a Malaysian badminton legend.

Team Unggul, led by coach Zakry Latif, won the inaugural Piala Juara Tangkis Tun Dr Siti Hasmah and took home a prize money of RM20,000.

Juara Tangkis Tun Dr Siti Hasmah, launched in October, is a tribute to Malaysia’s most treasured supporter of badminton with the objective to identify, nurture and establish future Malaysian badminton champions.

The programme is organised by Sports Affairs Badminton Club with the support of Youth and Sports Ministry, Education Ministry, Malaysian Sports Council and Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).

Programme director and Malaysia’s legendary Thomas Cup champion Rashid Sidek said,“Today, I am proud to witness the fire and enthusiasm in all the 96 players who have relentlessly showed grit and dedication to win. I’m truly humbled to see their commitment as a team at such a young age.

“I congratulate the winning team who played well and deserved to win and to the rest, do not be discouraged as you have done your best.

“This is only a starting point. I believe with continuous effort, all of you will be future champions.

“I would also like to thank the eight legends, Foo Kok Keong, Cheah Soon Kit, Rahman Sidek, Ong Ewe Hock, Roslin Hashim, Zakry Latif, Koo Kien Keat and Woon Khe Wei, who have helped to steer Juara Tangkis Tun Dr Siti Hasmah and selflessly put in their time and effort to ensure the success of this programme,“ Rashid added.

Team Satria emerged second in the grassroots tourney.

The eight legends formed eight teams consisting of 12 shortlisted players each.

Team Satria, coached by Kien Keat emerged second, while Team Jaguh, handled by Khe Wei, took the third spot.

Sports Affairs Badminton Club president Raezal Hussein said “The 96 players had to undergo centralised training prior to the finals with the respective legends.

“These selected players were from all around the country and they were carefully hand-picked by the legends themselves.

“We look forward to keep nurturing players with the highest potential to be part of the Sports Affairs Badminton Academy where they will undergo a full development and training programme.

“In the future, Sports Affairs Badminton Club hopes to create independent training academies throughout the country with collaboration between the Education Ministry and Malaysian badminton legends,” he added.

The three-day finals followed Sudirman’s Cup format in five categories: Boys Singles, Girls Singles, Mixed Doubles, Boys Doubles and Girls Doubles.

Team Satria and Team Jaguh bagged RM12,000 and RM8,000, respectively.

The event, open to the public, gave fans and those present the opportunity get up close with our badminton legends during a meet-and-greet session and also watch them play in an exhibition match.

Also present during the final match were BAM and Olympic Council of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria and Apacs Sports Sdn Bhd managing director Anthony Lim.

Apacs Sports is the official equipment sponsor for the programme.

For details on the programme, go to www.sportsaffairs.com.my.

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