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In search of young badminton talent

SINGAPORE - Young shuttler Vignesh Manivannan, 12, dreams of playing with the big boys, and the Montfort Junior School player could see his wish fulfilled soon.

Montfort Junior and five other schools - Boon Lay Secondary School, Maris Stella High School (Primary and Secondary), Montfort Secondary School and Xinmin Secondary School - have joined the Singapore Badminton Association's (SBA) inaugural Partners in Badminton Excellence (PBE) Scheme.

Principals from the six schools signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the SBA on Wednesday.

Developed to nurture more badminton talent in Singapore, the scheme will see SBA providing 300 players coaching clinics, seminars, and sparring sessions with the national badminton team.

Youngsters will also be able to vie for spots in the specially formed SBA-PBE selection team to compete in overseas age-group tournaments and training trips. Each school will also offer academic scholarships to a maximum of two students each.

School teachers and coaches will get a boost via coaching and technical official workshops, and seminars organised by SBA, and receive support to attend courses on sports psychology, nutrition and sports science.

Vignesh, who captained Montfort to the championship trophy at the North Zone Inter-Primary School Badminton Championships 2010 (Senior Boys Division), can hardly wait to meet the members of Singapore's national team.

"I don't have a favourite player as I like all of them, and I really want to train with them and learn how to play better," Vignesh told MediaCorp.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, SBA president Lee Yi Shyan said they were looking to expand the scheme in the future.

"This is the first in a series of collaborations, and we've chosen to partner with schools as they are so important in housing young talent," he said.

"What we need are more initiatives for the sport. In the future, we hope to partner some of the existing training centres, commercial clubs, and other badminton groups." Low Lin Fhoong

Source from TODAY

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