Smashing outcome expected from KLBA’s Jejak Juara meet

Two key items stood out at the launch of the Kuala Lumpur Closed Badminton Championships’ Jejak Juara this afternoon.

For starters, the event, scheduled for next month, is set to attract over 3,500 schoolchildren from the nation’s capital. The feat could land the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Association (KLBA) and the Kuala Lumpur Education Department, in the history books.

Secondly, digital billboards by Asia Media Group will be placed in all 260 schools in Kuala Lumpur. That will see targeted marketing initiatives, and presumably, a handsome monetisation plan for the stakeholders.

As far as KLBA president, Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos was concerned, this tournament – catering to the various age groups, and scheduled from May 20-28 at SMK Seri Bintang Selatan – is an evolution from the Jejak Juara programme initiated two years ago.

“Today is the peak of the (Jejak Juara) programme,” said Jahaberdeen, after launching the event.

“This is because we are also launching the four training centres in the city. We see between 3,000 and 5,000 students involved, and this could very well be the biggest training centre by a state association.”

The four training hubs identified are SMK Wangsa Melati (Keramat zone), SMK Kepong Baharu (Sentul), SMK Seri Bintang Selatan (Pudu) and SMK Seri Pantai (Bangsar).

The centres were chosen for their accessibility, facilities, and demographics – based on the participation of teachers and students in the sport, within these areas.

Jahaberdeen credited Kuala Lumpur Education Department director, Norhayati Wahab, for her “vision” in wanting to group the four hubs as a KLBA training centre, instead of being known as district training centres. Norhayati said this during her speech, earlier.

“It’s visionary … and this will certainly inspire the teachers and students.”

The monetisation plan, Jahaberdeen added, will help upgrade sporting facilities in these schools, while teachers will be certified by the experts at KLBA.

Jahaberdeen said the digital boards was one way for KLBA to raise funds. But he was also quick to stress that the content of the digital advertisements must conform to the regulations stipulated by the education department.

“We get small grants from the BA of Malaysia, and at the grassroots, we have to use our own funds. So, when you have an education department that is supportive of the cause, it’s easier to get things done.”

Also present at the launch were BAM general secretary, Datuk Kenny Goh, and representatives from the various sponsors – Professor, Bergamot, Dutch Lady, 100Plus, Victor, and Planta.

In her speech, Norhayati said she hoped that the Jejak Juara initiative and closed badminton tournament will create champions – from the national schools, to those at the international level.

She also hoped that with the cooperation of coaches from KLBA, KL Schools Sports Council, and the sponsors, the likes of the legendary Sidek brothers and Datuk Lee Chong Wei, will be born.

“This will serve as a good platform for our children to kick-start their professional careers in badminton,” Norhayati added.