The Movement Control Order (MCO), which was enforced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, may not be the worst thing to happen to the Malaysian junior shuttlers.
In fact, it could be seen as a blessing in disguise for the 77 players, aged 13-17, under BAM.
BAM Development Committee chairman, Datuk Ng Chin Chai said the good thing is, for once, the players are more focused on beefing up their physical strength as compared to only skill work and court training previously,
As the players train in their respective homes, BAM have acquired the services of two interns, who have been guiding and educating the young players through video calls.
“Previously, we’ve never had physical trainers for the juniors. They followed their coaches and focused more on skill and court training.
“However, since the MCO started, we brought in two sports science interns who have been doing a great job with the juniors.
“I personally have sat in their sessions to observe and you can see how well the players are receiving their inputs.
“BAM development head, Misbun Sidek as well as assistant, Joanne Quay will join in as well,” said Chin Chai.
It is understood that the national body have also been educating the players on the importance of understanding professionalism from a young age.
According to Chin Chai, BAM will most likely employ the physical trainers as full time staff for the junior team once the MCO is lifted.
Chin Chai added that it may take some time before the juniors return to full training at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara, as priority will be given to the elite players preparing for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
“It will be done in phases. BAM cannot bring back all 120 players to ABM.
“Since there aren’t any tournaments for the juniors in the near future, we will continue with our current programme,” he added.
The BAM juniors hope to compete in the World Junior Championships in New Zealand, scheduled for September, as the Asian Junior Championships in China in July are expected to be called off.
“It hasn’t been confirmed yet but it (Asian Junior Championships) is very likely to be cancelled. Our focus is now on the World Junior Championships.
“It is scheduled for later this year, but there is yet to be any announcement on it.”
Chin Chai disclosed that Misbun has shared his proposal on the new junior coaching structure, and it is awaiting approval from the executive committee and council.