AS a player, Rashid Sidek always wanted to work with coaches he was comfortable with, so he fully agrees with the BA of Malaysia’s decision to appoint Wong Tat Meng as the national singles chief coach.
BAM left it to the players to decide and all opted for Tat Meng, who served as outgoing chief coach Li Mao’s assistant for the last two years.
Rashid and brother Misbun were the frontrunners for the post, with Rashid expected to swing it as his work with the Project 2010-2012 squad has received rave reviews.
But the players decided otherwise.
''It does not matter who heads the national team as long as he can do his job well. The players have put their faith in Tat Meng and it is only fair that he is given the job.''
''The main criteria before deciding on a coach is to make sure the players are comfortable with the candidate and it was Tat Meng who the shuttlers wanted,'' said Rashid yesterday.
A bronze medallist in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Rashid said he was more interested in the other decisions BAM had made on Wednesday.
''My objective now is to make sure that my players are given the chance to compete in the super series and grand prix events as they have shown improvement''.
''BAM will be sending them to the German and Swiss Opens and I hope this will continue.''
''The joint training sessions with the seniors will also benefit them and I’m looking forward to seeing them train with the seniors on a regular basis.''
Rashid has six men’s singles players — Tan Chun Seang, Lim Kenn, Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng, Beryno Wong and Chong Li Qun — and four women’s singles players — Julia Wong, Anita Raj, Norsyahliza Baharum and Ooi Swee Wenn — under his guidance. He is assisted by Tey Siu Bock.
Julia stands out among them as she finished runner-up in the four-star Phillipines Open last year, won the Sri Lankan satellite and has the distinction of beating World No 5 Yao Jie of the Netherlands, World No 8 Xu Huaiwen of Germany and World No 11 Kaori Mori of Japan since last June. She is currently ranked World No 22.
Lim Kenn was the first player from the project squad to beat a national player, Lee Tsuen Seng, in the Malaysian satellite last year which forced the latter to quit the national squad, and won the Sri Lankan satellite beating Chun Seang last November.
Daren also beat a national player when he outplayed Kuan Beng Hong in the National Grand Prix Finals in Kuala Terengganu last week.
Chun Seang, despite not winning any title, has been more consistent and is ranked 56th, which is higher than seniors K. Yogendran (61st) and James Chua (169).
Chun Seang, Lim Kenn, Daren and Beryno will be competing alongside Wong Choong Hann and Yogendran in the German Open, a grand prix event, in Mulheim on Feb 27-March 4, and will also compete in the qualifying rounds of the All-England on March 6-11.
The squad’s pairs Khoo Chung Chiat-Razif Latif and Chan Peng Soon-Chang Hun Pin and women’s pair Haw Chiou Hwee-Lim Yin Loo will also compete in both tournaments.
Julia will be competing in the All-England and Swiss Open on March 13-18 while Anita will play in the German Open and the All-England. (nst.com.my)