Singapore Badminton Association to launch athletes' commission and parents' support group

Shuttler Derek Wong representing Singapore at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The former national shuttler is appointed chairman of the Singapore Badminton Association’s new athletes’ commission. (FILE PHOTO: Reuters/Jeremy Lee)

The Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) has launched a comprehensive engagement programme on Saturday (3 November) aimed at raising the standard of the sport in Singapore.

Among the initiatives introduced in the programme are an athletes’ commission and a parents’ support group. The athletes’ commission will be chaired by former national shuttler Derek Wong, and will seek to address areas such as athlete development and groom the next generation of sports administrators and committee members, in addition to serving as a voice for the athletes.

The 29-year-old, who is a two-time Olympian, said, “I’m happy to contribute back to the sport that helped to pave a career for me, and prepare me well for the society. But I’m a little afraid, that my
10 years’ experience in badminton may be insufficient to provide perfect solutions to address the current and future players’ needs.

“It’s a tough road, but with the right two-way communication and management implementation strategy, we should be able to create something great.”

Regular dialogues with SBA

Apart from athletes, parents will also have a bigger voice with the forming of the parents’ support group, which will be led by parents of current or former national players. The group will have regular dialogues with the SBA and provide feedback on issues such as practice schedules and player programmes.

Announcing the initiatives at a meet-the-parents-and-players session at the SportSG Auditorium, SBA president Lawrence Leow said, “The main idea behind these sessions is for the SBA to have an engagement programme with our key stakeholders, so we can get their input, and thereafter, move forward as one family. ”

New ranking system and tournaments

Already, players’ feedback will see the implementation of a new national ranking system to be launch in March next year, in tandem with SBA’s first sanctioned tournament of 2019 which will feature competitions in seven age categories for both male and female singles/doubles players.

There are also plans to launch a new National Open as well as an end-of-year finals next year, with the top 16 shuttlers competing for the honour of being the top player for the year.

Singaporeans can accumulate ranking points by competing in such sanctioned tournaments. The points will help determine seedings when it comes to selecting players for international events.

Acknowledging that his team face many challenges to raise the level of badminton in Singapore, such as a shrinking talent base and the need for more support for elite athletes, Leow said his team remain committed to making Singapore a top badminton nation.

He said, “Only as a team, with everyone on the same page, can we move forward in a common direction. With the involvement of parents and all stakeholders, we will have greater strength and resources to bring Singapore badminton forward.”

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