The heat is on as the National Finals of the AirAsia-BAM National Junior League gets underway this week (Jan 11-14) at the Juara Stadium here in Bukit Kiara.
After three months (Oct-Dec 2017) of competition in each state, the best of the best in the AirAsia-BAM National Junior League will now fight for honors to become the best boys and girls team in Malaysia, as well as to earn their spots as national players at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (BAM).
In a format similar to that of the Thomas and Uber Cup, 15 teams each (boys and girls) will be divided into four groups (three groups of four, and one group of three), where they will play a match against each team in their group once.
The top two will then advance to the quarter-finals and subsequently, the semi-finals and final stage. A match will also be played to determine third and fourth place.
Following the conclusion of the league at state level where schools of the state competed against each other, the best players have been identified by their respective states to wear their colours and be the ones to look out for at the National Finals.
From down South in Johor, comes the talented Saha sisters, 16-year-old Dyvylyn and 14-year-old Dylyvya.
Hailing from a family of ex nationals and state shuttlers including their father Davinchy Saha, the duo who play well in both singles and doubles are set to boost the Southern Tigers squad.
Meanwhile, from the Pearl of the Orient, hopes will rest on the shoulders of state player Wah Jia Wei.
The reigning Penang Under-16 singles and Under-15 doubles champion is on a mission to earn himself a call up to the national squad, wishing to one day see Malaysia continue to be one of badminton's greatest nation.
Two other shuttlers, Wan Muhammad Arif Shaharudin Wan Mohd Junaidi from Kemaman, Terengganu and Arena Satu Samin from Sabah are also expected to pack a punch, as they gear up for the main event which offers a total prize purse of RM100,000 to the state of the winning teams
The RM2 million junior league was launched last year by BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria, in collaboration with AirAsia as the main title sponsor to revamp the junior development programme and to provide the national teams with the new generation of quality players to be trained.
Other sponsors include ENRA Group Berhad, VICTOR Sports, Malaysia Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) and Malaysia Building Society Berhad (MBSB) together with the Ministry of Education and the respective State Education Departments.