BAM not throwing door wide open

IT is status quo for the BA of Malaysia who are in no rush to get all their shuttlers back at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara.

This is their stand after the government gave the nod for sporting and recreational activities to resume on June 15, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, under the new Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).

For now, BAM will stick to the small group of players under the Road to Tokyo (RTT) programme at least until July 1 before making any further announcement.

A total of 16 players, both RTT and sparring shuttlers checked in at ABM on June 1, and have been observing strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) to keep the coronavirus at bay.

BAM coaching director Wong Choong Hann told Timesport that they will focus on the first batch of priority players before opening up to the backup and junior squads.

According to Choong Hann, the national body would rather play it safe than risk dealing with unnecessary factors.

“We have only been here for a week and are still adapting to the new SOPs put in place.

“Of course, we would love to have everybody back, but right now we don’t think it is the right thing to do.

“Bringing everyone back here would affect our current SOPs.

“We had our internal meeting today (yesterday) and have agreed to stick to the current batch of players at least until July.

“If anything, the rest of the players might resume training sooner than expected,” said Choong Hann.

Newly-appointed head coaches Flandy Limpele (men’s doubles) and Chan Chong Ming (women’s doubles) are now expected to start next month.

Apart from early preparation for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, BAM’s elite shuttlers will also
be fighting to make the cut
for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark on Oct 3-11.

With other tournaments this year still hanging in the balance, including the Malaysia Open in November, BAM are taking their time in getting their players up and running again.

“The difference is obvious and even the players have realised this. Having not trained on court for so long has taken a toll on them.

“The players are having a good laugh over some of their mishaps, but deep inside, they know how much the MCO (Movement Control Order) has affected them,” added Choong Hann.

The former World No 1 also shared that gym training in Bukit Kiara has resumed but under tight and strict safety measures, including social distancing.

When Sabri made the announcement in Putrajaya yesterday, he pointed out that sports and recreational activities can only resume training.

There can be no competitions, no physical contact sports, and no usage of pools, both public and private.

BAM players, who are training hard to get back in shape, are only expected to play competitively in September, while the Olympic qualifying will resume next year.

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