AirAsia-BAM National Junior League (ABNJL) 2017 was officially launched on 15 July 2017 by the Patron of Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor together with BAM President, Dato’ Sri Norza Zakaria. The league saw full participation from 14 states and the Federal Territory of Putrajaya.
This inaugural youth tournament was a successful collaboration with AirAsia as the title sponsor; and other sponsors; 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.
At the State level, the inter-school badminton league adopts the Thomas Cup / Uber Cup model and is aimed at identifying the best talent among students aged-18 and below nationwide. Each Boys team comprised of three singles players and two doubles pairs, while the Girls team comprised of two singles players and one doubles pair.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this initiative. AirAsia is about making dreams come true and this league is perfect for that,” said AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
“We want young Malaysian players to achieve their full potential and we hope that, through this platform, we can support their aspirations as well as help this country be recognised as a world badminton nation once again,” he added.
ABNJL has proven to be a success at State level with 242 schools participating, comprising a total of 349 teams - 200 boys teams and 149 girls teams - with a total number of 2,930 players (1,926 boys’ players and 1,004 girls’ players)“We have achieved an incredible level of participation from young players and schools across the whole nation, and we are hopeful that future world class players are among the many participating. Thanks to AirAsia, our other key partners and all the stakeholders, we are able to provide an efficient support system to develop these talents,” said Norza Zakaria.
After having completed all the state level tournaments over a three-month period from October to December 2017, ABNJL will now head to the National Finals from 11 to 14 January at Stadium Juara, Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.
At the Finals, each state will be represented by a team in Boys category and a team in the Girls category. The two teams from each state will field their best players in the hopes of being crowned the first ABNJL champions.
Players of the ABNJL winning teams in the respective categories will get automatic entries into the state-of-the-art Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM). The champion for each category will also receive RM20,000, runners-up RM15,000, third-placed RM10,000 and fourth-placed RM5,000 totaling RM100,000.
The ABNJL Finals are free for the public to access. Attendance to support the respective state teams and witness the stars of tomorrow are strongly encouraged.