10/05/2024 08:13 AM

KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 (Bernama) -- This year's edition of the Allianz Junior Badminton Championships (AJBC) will introduce the Under-11 boys’ and girls’ singles events aimed at nurturing younger players.

Allianz Malaysia Berhad chief executive officer Sean Wang emphasised that the new category would allow for a broader identification of potential talents since the current youngest age group in the AJBC is the Under-13 event.

“Over the last two years, parents, teachers and officials have asked us to look into adding a new category for Under-11 players. Not many are aware that a year or two difference in age can make a (lot of) difference in terms of physical strength and size.

“After careful consideration, we decided it was the right time to introduce an age group for the benefit of younger players,” he said in a statement.

He added that four of AJBC’s players have been selected to enter the prestigious Bukit Jalil Sports School while several Under-15 grand finalists were invited to attend trials with Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) last year. 

“I am extremely pleased with this development as it goes to show that the AJBC is moving in the right direction and aligns with what we set out to do.

"Our goal has always been to support Malaysian badminton by presenting more opportunities for all players (boys and girls) to participate in a competitive environment nationwide,” he said.

Last year, over 2,500 shuttlers participated in the AJBC. This year, 3,000 participants are expected to compete across 10 Qualifying Rounds.

The opening round took place in Taiping, Perak last weekend and it will be followed by Penang (May 17-19). The qualifying rounds will continue to be staged in various venues nationwide, such as Alor Setar, Cheras, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Kluang, Pengkalan Chepa, Bukit Beruang and Kuantan.

The statement added that Nur Aina Maisarah of SMK Sri Intan and Tan Zhi Ying of SMJK San Min both bagged a double after winning the singles and doubles events of the girls’ Under-15 and Under-13 categories respectively in the Perak leg last week.

The AJBC Grand Finals, featuring Under-13 and Under-15 finalists from all the Qualifying Rounds, will be held at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara from Nov 20–25. 

Each round will see 24 players qualifying for the finals. The Under-11 players will not advance to the AJBC Grand Finals. 

As in previous years, shuttlers competing in the AJBC Qualifying Rounds need not pay any entrance fee. 

In the Qualifying Rounds, the top three winners from all age groups will receive RM500, RM300 and RM150 for singles; and RM600, RM400 and RM200 for doubles.

In the Grand Finals, the top-three finishers will pocket RM1,000, RM600 and RM300 for singles; and RM1,200, RM800, and RM400 for doubles.


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