Saturday, January 16

Shuttlers, parents upset over latest national U-21 tournament ‘hearsay’

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File photo of SBA president Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain (right) handing over state colours to team manager-cum-coach Dominic Ng and Sarawak players before they depart for the 2018 Perak Sukma in September. Abdul Hadi is on extreme left.

KUCHING: There is rising frustration again among some players and parents with the Sarawak Badminton Association (SBA). The latest fall-out stems from confusion over the National Under-21 Championships 2nd Leg scheduled to be held in Kuching from Dec 12-16.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) had announced at the beginning of the year that the inter-state tournament would be hosted by Sarawak in Kuching. But reports suddenly emerged over the weekend that SBA and Kuching have withdrawn as host.

The latest development, happening about a month before the tournament, has riled some parents whose children are involved. The players have been training for months. Some were reported to train even through their school or college examination period. A few are reported to have returned from outside Sarawak to intensify their preparation. They were also looking forward to the tournament which offers more slots for players from the hosting state. Now, what they see as a rare opportunity and exposure to play in a tournament of this level is apparently lost.

Concerns have also been raised about whether the tournament could well be cancelled.

SBA executive secretary Ms Bong Nyat Nee, however, told The Borneo Post yesterday that it is now left to BAM to decide on another venue.

One concerned parent was “saddened and angered” with SBA over this “last-minute” development. She said the tournament could have provided “good exposure” for our local players given “the scarcity of competition for them.”

Another unhappy parent is awaiting official word from SBA amid the “hearsay” concerning the tournament.

The anxiety is heightened by an almost similar incident in December 2014 when SBA suddenly announced that Sarawak had withdrawn from taking part in the National Junior Under-12 and Under-15 Team Championships just weeks before that tournament started. An uproar by parents led to a dialogue with SBA honorary secretary Abdul Hadi Abdul Kadir.

It is perhaps not surprising that Sarawak have not performed well in inter-state badminton competitions in recent years. In the recent 2018 Perak Sukma the state players returned without a medal. In fact Sarawak have not won a Sukma medal in the sport since 2006.