The heat is on as the BAM Invitational Championships get underway next week at the Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara.

After four months without any competitive action due to the global pandemic, the best of the best at the ABM will now fight for honors in one of the first major tournaments to be staged that will feature the cream of the Malaysian badminton crop.

The round-robin internal tournament is set to be divided to two stages. In stage 1, six back-up men’s singles shuttlers will vie for the top two qualifying spots in Division 2 (5-8 August) where the champion and runner-up will be promoted to the top flight.

Division 1 (11-16 August) will feature all five categories where a total of 52 senior players including eight independent players are set to participate in the six-day first division competition.

The event will be held without spectators at the national badminton centre of excellence.

Selected matches from both divisions will be streamed live on the Association’s official youtube channel @BA_Malaysia.

Director of Coaching, Wong Choong Hann: “We’re all looking forward to this tournament. It will be good for the players to get match exposure after going through recovery training for the past two months (Road to Tokyo group) and one month plus for the second batch of players.

“It’s time for them to face new challenges and from there we can gauge how far they’ve come in terms of recovery and identify areas of improvement.

“This tournament will also allow the players to regain their touch of competitiveness and perform under stress. It is a platform that creates a high-pressure environment and push the players to another level as they will be playing against teammates who know their playing styles well.

“There is pressure for some to defend their status while the others will look to take the opportunity to create upsets and make a name for themselves. These are all different levels of stress. We want to mould players that won’t crumble under pressure.

“With professional players included, we have 12 players in the men’s singles department. A round robin format with 12 players would mean each player will have to play a total of 11 matches. It is equivalent to two back-to-back tournaments. That was the reason why we have decided to split into two divisions for the backup men’s singles players.

“For the doubles departments, we have reached the decision to keep all the pairs to inspire a healthy competitive environment. With this level of competitiveness, we hope we can encourage all players to be focused during daily training and tournament.”

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