KLBA casts bigger net, courting private clubs, schools, to widen talent pool

Instead of complaining about losing shuttlers to private badminton clubs, Kuala Lumpur BA (KLBA) has taken the logical step – to work closely with the clubs.

In fact, KLBA is taking it one step further, by joining forces with the Kuala Lumpur Education Department, to form a partnership with all 294 schools in the city.

“I received complaints in the past about players leaving for clubs. I said, we should stop complaining and work with the clubs,” said KLBA president, Datuk Seri Dr Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos.

“This idea of partnering clubs and schools was supposed to be launched in 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to put those plans on hold. Now, it’s back on track and we are going to launch it in the middle of this year.”

Jahaberdeen, who is also BA of Malaysia deputy president, said the idea to work with schools was to simply create a larger talent pool, in addition to the 80 elite players training under KLBA’s banner.

“The main objective is so that the players we create will eventually graduate and play for the country. It’s a feeder system for BAM. We can’t soley rely on the national body, and that’s why I wanted KLBA to go beyond that (creating talents for KL alone).

“We will be launching something exciting by mid-May,” he added.

Jahaderbeen has been with KLBA for 10 years, having served as acting president for two years before being its president over the past four years.

“At the end of the day, it’s our job to develop badminton in Kuala Lumpur and be the feeder for the national body. We need to work together with many parties, including the Education Department.

Players will be grouped into four zones based on the location of their schools. This will ensure that the students need not travel beyond their locality to be a part of the KLBA training set-up. This would also see more coaches involved in the project.

He added that KLBA was also eager to reward coaches. In September last year, KLBA rewarded BAM coaching director, Wong Choong Hann, and para-badminton coach, Datuk Rashid Sidek. The two received an incentive of RM3,000 following the national shuttlers’ exploits at last year’s Tokyo Olympics and the Paralympics.

“Glory is often placed on players, but let’s not forget the good work by coaches. We were the first BA to reward coaches when our shuttlers returned with medals.

“This is to show recognition of the coaches,” he added.