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The Maybank Malaysia International Youth U-19 came to an end last Sunday with Malaysia winning four silver medals. The finalist were Yeoh Seng Zoe, M. Thinaah, Aaron Chia/ Soh Wooi Yik and Goh Sze Fei/ Teoh Mei Xing. This tournament which is part of the Badminton Asia Confederation junior circuit was held in Juara Stadium, Bukit Kiara Sports Complex. Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) together with Maybank as the title sponsor, hosted a total amount of 213 players from 11 countries. With such a good numbers of participation, the tournament was a success. With top countries like Korea, Thailand and Indonesia sending a large contingent, it created a very competitive tournament.

Apart from Maybank, the other sponsors who played an important role in making this a successful event was Victor, XOX, 100 Plus, Astro, Phiten and Samsung. The brand Victor which sponsors the national junior and senior player’s attire and equipment was here from the first day till the finals to assist players to string their racquets and ensuring that the player’s request are met. 100 Plus was generous to supply free drinks for everyone who were present at the tournament and Samsung sponsored the electronic score boards that were displayed behind the court.

RTM was also here to record the matches to be telecasted on television. In terms of the support team, the National Sports Institute (ISN) provided a medical team to take care of the player’s healthcare. If it was not for these sponsors and assistance, it would have been impossible to host the Under-19 tournament.

Meanwhile, the tournament saw many young talents blooming and some even overcame their seniors. Although it was an Under-19 tournament, there were a number of players aged 14 and 15 who made it to the quarter-finals and semi-finals stage. From Malaysia, we had Pearly Tan and Eng Sing Jou while Korea had 14 year-old Park Ga Eun. These are just few players out of the 213 sent as they are more who may have lost in the earlier round but nevertheless, it was a great experience for them.

Moreover, they are exposed to compete against players from other countries as well as getting the feel of playing in an international tournament. Besides learning new skills, the players are able to learn on how to handle the pressure and to be mentally prepared for a big tournament instead of the local tournaments they usually take part. Hence, the under-19 tournament is able to groom Malaysian players from a very young age to be world class players in the future.

It is a good initiative taken by Badminton Association of Malaysia in hosting this Under-19 tournament for the past four years which initially was played in Europe and Indonesia. Among the VIP’s that were present at the prize giving ceremony yesterday were BAM’s president, YM Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel and Deputy Presidents, YBhg. Tan Sri Ir. Mohamed Al-Amin and YBhg. Datuk Seri Mohd Norza Zakaria.