29.9 C
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Kennie Asuncion-Robles aims to elevate PH badminton as new Program Director

- Advertisement -

THE Philippine Badminton Association (PBad) did not look far when searching for a program director to push its initiatives, not only for the national squad, Smash Pilipinas, but also for the development of the sport in the country overall.

Former top national team shuttler and multiple-time UAAP champion, both as an athlete and currently as a coach, Kennie Asuncion-Robles took the helm at the start of the year.

For PBad president Jude Turcuato, Asuncion-Robles is the right person for the job to handle the country’s program.

“Her international experience and exposure made her the ideal choice. She understands the badminton community both domestically and internationally, and she knows how to succeed within the team’s culture. She’s a proven winner,” said Turcuato.

“My job is to help our national team in terms of planning for tournaments and checking their programs. Kumbaga, I’m coordinating with our coaches to help with whatever they need. And since that is the job, of course, bumababa siya to the juniors, so we all help each other,” shared the former World No. 143 athlete.

PBad emphasized talent identification as one of its objectives, with the upcoming Philippine Badminton Open starting on June 5 playing a crucial role in achieving this goal.

Asuncion-Robles said, “We look forward to the PBO because, of course, that’s where you see how the national team performs, and at the same time, we expect to see either new faces or people who worked harder this time and who could show a little bit more. That’s our hope when we have tournaments, to identify potential players that we could add to the team.

“Same with the juniors. We’re very active in sending them out for competitions because they will be the next in line to join the national team. We’re very aligned in our planning.”

With recent successes from our national team athletes, the concurrent head coach of the Ateneo de Manila University squads was optimistic about the country’s continuous rise in the sport.

“I, for one, truly believe that Filipinos can excel in badminton. So, we’re hoping that since everything is more aligned now, we can produce more higher-ranked players.”

“I’m excited whenever I see our players compete internationally because we know their capabilities. And we know that they just need more exposure and more tournaments. Once they have that, I believe they can show us what they’re capable of. Even though we’re in Asia, we can keep up with other Asian countries who are doing well on the international scene.”

The landscape of world badminton is currently dominated by Asians, with China bagging two golds and four silvers in the most recent Olympics in Tokyo, and Chinese Taipei and Indonesia taking one gold each.

Asuncion-Robles believes it is all about how the Philippines approaches it moving forward.

“I strongly believe in mindset. It’s pretty much like looking at the glass as half-empty or half-full. You can say it’s tough because we’re in Asia and our competition is strong. But you can also look at it as the challenge is bigger, the goal is higher; therefore, our players need to work doubly hard to achieve more,” she said.

“I believe that with good guidance—we have good coaches in the national team—if we continue with our programs and help our players prepare not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally, I think that will help them a lot and improve their performance,” continued the 2010 Lao International Challenge champion.

As a former national athlete herself, accepting the job is Asuncion-Robles’ way of giving back to the country and the sport she calls home. Like anyone in the badminton community, she wants to see a Smash Pilipinas athlete, or even athletes, don the Philippine colors in the next Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028.

To achieve this, Asuncion-Robles shared, “The plan is to continue joining international competitions. It will be tough because it’s physically and emotionally draining; financially, it is also a big factor. But we have boss MVP to back us up and the support of the badminton community, I believe. We just have to be aligned in terms of setting goals for the players. I know the players want this. I know just by seeing how they train or talking to them, I know what they want. And I believe we have the same goal.

“That is, to have one of our players, maybe two or three, qualify for the Olympics.”


Popular Articles