Monday, 10 Aug 2020
SPORTS
02/08/2020 08:01 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 -- After going more than four months without playing in any competitive tournaments following the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the national shuttlers are about to face their first serious test at the Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara next week.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann said they have fixed Aug 11-16 for the BAM Invitational Championships, a round-robin internal tournament featuring the country's top and back-up shuttlers.

Before that, however, six men’s singles back-up shuttlers will slug it out from Aug 5-8 for the top two spots in Division 2 for promotion to Division One.

The top-flight men's singles matches will then take place from Aug 11-16, together with the other four categories (men’s doubles, women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles), whereby a total of 52 senior players, including eight independent shuttlers, are set to compete.

The former national ace said the 12 men’s singles players had to be split into two divisions because otherwise, under the round-robin format, each player would have had to play a total of 11 matches and that would be equivalent to two back-to-back tournaments.

Choong Hann also said that the tournament would allow the shuttlers to regain their competitive edge and perform under stress.

“It will be good for the players to get some match exposure after going through recovery training for the past two months (under the Road to Tokyo group) and one month plus for the second batch of players.

“It’s time for them to face new challenges. From there, we can gauge how far they’ve come in terms of recovery and identify areas for improvement. It is a platform that creates a high-pressure environment and pushes the players to another level as they will be playing against teammates who know their playing styles well.

“There is pressure for some to defend their status while the others will look to take the opportunity to create upsets and make a name for themselves. These are all different levels of stress. We want to mould players who won’t crumble under pressure,” he said in a statement today.

The tournament will be held without spectators at the national badminton centre of excellence, with selected matches from both divisions to be streamed live on BAM’s official YouTube channel @BA_Malaysia.

-- BERNAMA

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