No more 'junior' or 'senior' in national badminton squad, only world rankings count - Norza

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shuttlers will no longer be categorised as 'junior' or 'senior' but will instead be based on their world ranking by the Badminton World Federation (BWF), says Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria.

He said young players would also be sent to compete with senior athletes in international tournaments to improve their mental and physical endurance.

"We have decided, because there is a restructuring in coaching, from now onwards, you will distinguish players not by 'junior' or 'senior', but by world ranking.

"You can see our juniors have already achieved good results, so that is an example now for us to say that juniors in terms of age, they will be allowed to fight at the senior level and compete with the seniors. But, later, we will democratise this to make sure that they are only based on world ranking," he said.

He made the remarks to reporters after the 79th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of BAM at the Academy Badminton Malaysia here today.

Mohamad Norza refused to accept the notion that Malaysian players only 'matured' at the age of 25 and above, because the quality of young badminton athletes from other countries was on the rise.

"Because I believe the assimilation from junior to senior should be seamless. We used to say, you are junior, you are junior. When they go to the senior level, they get shocked.

"So that when they fight, they actually fight for glory, they just fight, they go inside there...It doesn't matter whether they are 18 or 16," he said.

In another development, Mohamad Norza said BAM would take proactive steps to encourage the growth of young Malaysian players by agreeing to increase grants to state badminton associations based on player performance.

He mentioned that previously, grants allocated to state associations under BAM ranged from RM 300,000 to RM 450,000.

"Because we understand some states are putting more money and effort into developing young players compared to other states.

.".. for example, if a state association previously received a grant of RM 300,000, that amount will not be touched, but there will be an increase based on performance and activity-based criteria," he said. — BERNAMA

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