KUCHING: The first in the inaugural Sarawak Junior Badminton Circuit series kicked off at the Sarawak Multipurpose Indoor Arena, Petra Jaya here with 56 players yesterday.
Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee said the tournament is the first of its kind in the country with a total of 19 in the series to be organised throughout the state this year.
“Just like the Badminton World Federation with its many circuits and tournaments for elite international players to collect ranking points, we are organising this badminton circuit for the similar reason,” he told reporters at the arena yesterday.
The one-day competition was divided into Under 11, U13 and U15 singles for male and female players.
A tournament software is utilised for the junior players to keep track of their performance and ranking in the state.
Ong believes that such a ranking system might also be the first to be introduced in the country.
With the ranking system, he added, SSC and badminton associations will be able to identify elite players and focus on moulding them to becoming potential national or world champions. It could also create a bigger base of elite players in the state.
“We are assisting the Sarawak Badminton Association by focusing on the development of junior badminton players. These are the players who we should look forward to see them performing in badminton tournaments in five years’ time as we need to start from the grassroot level,” he explained.
Yesterday’s competition only involved players from Kuching division due to the current movement restrictions.
Eventually, about 200 to 300 players throughout the state are expected to take part in the entire circuit.
“The grand final has been scheduled to take place in December this year with maybe the top 20 or 15 badminton players in the state battling for the crown of being the best,” Ong revealed.
The circuit is open to all including players who are not affiliated with any badminton club or association.
It will be organised annually with the support from the state Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan officiated at the event yesterday.
The ministry’s acting permanent secretary Nancy Jolhi was also in attendance.