KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — More than half of the 120 players at Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara here will be given a break from training to help check the spread of Covid-19 at the training centre.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said he had told BAM secretary-general Datuk Kenny Goh to excuse players not involved in the Road to Tokyo programme, those still seeking Olympic qualification and several juniors going for a tournament in Slovenia soon.
“I discussed with Kenny yesterday the need for a review of priority training at ABM because we better learn from what happened recently.
“ABM was a training location which practised the sports bubble model with tight SOP (standard operating procedure) but when we relaxed a bit there were players who infected the community there,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
Mohamad Norza, who is also Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president, had earlier received a courtesy visit by the new Exco of the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) for 2020-2023, led by its president Norismadi Abd Manap.
He said these players were expected to return to their homes before checking back into the training centre after the Aidilfitri celebration.
National players only returned to training at ABM on Tuesday after a week’s break because 15 individuals at the academy had tested positive for Covid-19 since April 17.
Mohamad Norza also said he was given to understand that the Tokyo Olympics would proceed as scheduled on July 23-August 8 despite the worsening Covid-19 situation which led to the declaration of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo from April 25 to May 11.
Meanwhile, Norismadi said SAM would apply to the Youth and Sports Ministry for journalists going to Tokyo Olympics to be vaccinated.
Mohamad Norza said OCM would support the application as media practitioners are also frontliners.
“I myself will contact the ministers concerned to ensure the needs of media practitioners involved in the coverage are given serious attention,” Mohamad Norza said.