SINGAPORE - The Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) announced several new initiatives during its engagement session with players, parents and officials at the Sport Singapore Auditorium on Saturday (Nov 3).
They include the introduction of an athletes' commission, a parents' support group, a national ranking and a revamped national championships.
The new national ranking will be launched in March in seven age categories - Under-9, U-11, U-13, U-15, U-17, U-19 and Open - for both genders and for singles and doubles events.
Singaporean players will accumulate ranking points by competing in SBA-sanctioned and -supported competitions and the rankings will determine seedings at these local tournaments and selection for various international events.
"The move will make it easier for players to track their progress and performance and see how they fare against their peers," said SBA president Lawrence Leow, who succeeded Tan Kian Chew in June.
The National Championships will be held in January, following a break of six years, while the SBA also aims to hold a national junior championships the same year, with at least five other tournaments in the local circuit in the new season.
The newly formed athletes' commission is chaired by two-time Olympian and former national player Derek Wong, and includes former and current internationals such as Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Terry Yeo.
The 29-year-old Wong said: "I am most happy and yet afraid to take up the role as chairperson - I am happy to contribute to the sport that helped to pave a career for me, and prepared me well for society.
"But I am also afraid that my 10 years' experience in badminton may still be insufficient to provide perfect solutions to address the current and future players' needs.
"I believe the team selected for the commission will work well together and slowly we will bring the sport back to its former glory."
Also, a new seven-member parents support group was elected during the four-hour session, which included Judy Yeo, the mother of national women's singles player Yeo Jia Min.
During his opening speech, Leow acknowledged that there are "many challenges" in the sport here, including "declining standards" of the players on the regional and international level.
He said: "To be honest, these issues are not easy to overcome. I want to be open and transparent, we are still trying to find solutions.
"For SBA to move forward, we need to make changes to how we run things. We have to transform the organisation and we need to be open and inclusive, to bring everyone in on this journey."