'Important review' of SBA's processes coming up

SINGAPORE - An "important review" of the way Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) operates its high-performance structure will commence in September this year.

The taskforce, headed by SBA president Lee Yi Shyan, will seek the views of the local badminton fraternity, such as non-SBA coaches, sponsors, parents and former executive committee members, on how to improve both the current national team and the talent development pathway.

Mr Lee, who is the Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said this at the Li-Ning Singapore Open appreciation dinner last night at the Chinese Swimming Club.

The issue came to the fore after last month's Badminton World Federation SuperSeries tournament, where no Singaporean made the quarter-final stage of the tournament, the Republic's worst showing since at least the 2006 edition.

Mr Lee promised a "serious review" after the tournament, and The New Paper also spoke to several people in the fraternity, who said some local shuttlers lack discipline and ambition.

Said Mr Lee: "We are in the process of forming a taskforce and the purpose of this taskforce is to look at the various aspects of the national team's training methodology, and internal processes in terms of communications and management of players.

"We will give ourselves one year (for the review), bearing in mind that we are about to start our preparations for next year's Singapore Open because it's been brought forward to April. There are many parts which SBA has got to piece together."

Constraints

Asked if it would be a fine-tuning or major rethink of the SBA's processes, Mr Lee cited constraints in budget, number of talent and avenues for overseas stints.

He then said: "It's an important review, whether it's big or small really depends on whether in the end we can lift some of these constraints."

But he did warn that the implementation of some of the ideas will take some time, especially when it comes to beefing up the national squad and changing the mindset of talented young shuttlers to give elite badminton a shot.

Addressing comments on the players' motivation, Mr Lee said: "In terms of financial incentives, our players can be paid monthly between $1,200 and about $3,000, but they can be paid as much as $200,000 a year if they achieve improvements in world rankings and win tournaments."

He qualified the last figure by saying it includes internal incentives, sponsors' rewards and special funding for major Games such as the Olympics.

He added: "Players who don't perform will continue to receive the basic salary... but whether financial incentive alone is enough, or whether there can be better motivation through counselling and coaching, these are things we have to look into."

sayheng@sph.com.sg

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