Malaysia leads in developing young badminton players for the region 
The Astro Junior Championships (AJC) U15 (Regional) opens today with a strong 14-team participation from nine (9) Asian countries: China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam and Malaysia.  This first ever under-15 regional mixed-team tournament in Asia was launched by YAB Dato' Seri Dr Wan Azizah Dr Wan Ismail, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia cum Patron of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM). Present along at the launch were Henry Tan, CEO-designate, Astro and Kenny Goh, Chief Operating Officer, Badminton Asia. The AJC U15 (Regional) will take place from Monday 12 – Thursday 15 November 2018 at Stadium Juara, Kuala Lumpur and is expected to attract badminton fans, young and old alike.
YAB Dato' Seri Dr Wan Azizah Dr Wan IsmailDeputy Prime Minister of Malaysia cum Patron of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM)
YAB Dato' Seri Dr Wan Azizah Dr Wan Ismail said, “Malaysia is committed to fostering the growth of badminton and developing more young badminton players in Asia. We encourage and applaud efforts between government bodies, the private sector and independent organisations who help make this commitment a reality. I would like to commend the strategic partnership between Astro and the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) as today’s launch of the regional Astro Junior Championships U15 provides an additional avenue for training and a competitive-play experience for participants. Tournaments such as the AJC U15 (Regional) work to not only develop young athletes, it also plays a vital role in uniting and empowering communities within the Asian region to promote harmony and unity. Through sports we continue to forge our long-standing friendship and keep the Asian spirit alive.”
Henry Tan, Chief Executive Officer – Designate, Astro
Henry Tan, Chief Executive Officer – Designate, Astro, said, “As ‘home of sports’ in Malaysia, Astro is committed to raise the overall standard of badminton among Malaysians and to nurture a new generation of badminton champions. This is where AJC comes in to provide the opportunity and platform for young and talented Asian boys and girls to train and develop their competitive-play experience.”

Astro Kem Badminton is a badminton development programme, that is run in a collaboration between Yayasan Astro Kasih, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education and Badminton Association Malaysia (BAM). The program has benefited more than 15,800 participants between the ages 10 – 12 since its inception in 2012.

The AJC U15 (Regional) is considered a stage 2 of the AJC tournament where stage 1 saw 32 local teams who vied for the AJC U15 (Nationals), champion title with Wolf Team taking this title while CRC Taipex Penang taking the Runner-up title. These 2 teams then automatically qualified for the AJC U15 (Regional) along with another Malaysian team made up of BAM-Astro players. The AJC U15 (Regional) is by invitation-only and are made up of professional and national under-15 players from their respective countries.
[Please refer to the appendix for a full-list of the 14 participating teams].

Kenny Goh, Chief Operating Officer, Badminton Asia, said, “This noble initiative taken up by Astro is in line with Badminton Asia’s 2020 Strategic Plan which aims to promote, develop and strengthen the sport of badminton in Asia. Thus, Badminton Asia is indeed glad that an esteemed organisation such as Astro has taken this positive step to create more events for the development of badminton within this region. It is vital for badminton to continuously have star players to make sure the sport remains relevant and competitive. By providing an avenue for U15 players to compete at an international level, young players from these prominent countries have a head start in taking the badminton sport to the next level.”

Astro Junior Championships U15 is endorsed by Badminton Asia (BA) and Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia, Ministry of Education Malaysia, Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture Malaysia, F&N Beverages Marketing, Victor Sports and Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara Hotel.

A total number of 160 participants will battle it out at the Group Stage on 12 and 13 November, and triumphant teams will advance to the Semi-Finals on 14 November and subsequently, to the Finals on 15 November. Participants stand a chance to win a combined of prize pool ranging from cash of up to USD12,000 (Champion: USD5,000; Runner-up: USD3,000; Semi-finalists: USD2,000 each), trophies, medals and apparel. 
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