By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: Heads will roll if the players and coaches fail to deliver the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) one gold medal target at the Asian Games in Doha from Dec 1-15.
Yesterday, BAM president Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh announced their best team of eight men and eight women for the Asiad after back-to-back meetings with the players and the coaching and training committee at Bukit Kiara.
In a surprise move, the BAM decided to give veterans Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and Kuan Beng Hong a second chance to prove themselves while Mohd Roslin Hashim was recalled for national duty.
The others in the men’s team are the usual suspects – Lee Chong Wei, Beng Hong and Chan Chong Ming-Koo Kien Keat.
In the women’s team, Kuala Lumpur Racket Club’s Lim Pek Siah-Joanne Quay have been given the privilege to represent the country. That was the only surprise in the women’s team.
It is the first time that the BAM have considered women players from clubs for an official tournament.
Nadzmi said the players and coaches had promised to stay committed in training and mount a strong challenge at the Doha Games.
“They – the players and coaches – know that some of them will have to go if they do not produce results. If they cannot perform, we do not want them to hang around,” said Nadzmi. “We have made clear everyone’s responsibility in the team.”
Nadzmi said that they took the longest time yesterday to decide on Tan Fook-Wan Wah’s participation in the Asiad following the duo’s below-par performances in their third round defeat to Indonesia’s Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan at the World Championships in Madrid.
“For us, their failure in the world meet was the biggest disappointment. Following the feedback from the players and the coaches, we have found that there have been communication problems,” said Nadzmi.
“There is no problem with their techniques or skills. After a long discussion, we decided that they would still be a better bet. They need help and Rexy Mainaky has given an assurance that he can help solve their communication problems.”
On Beng Hong, Nadzmi said it was an opportunity for the youngster to make up for his failure at the Thomas Cup Finals in Japan. Then, he had failed to deliver the winning point against Denmark in the semi-finals.
“Beng Hong did well at the World Championships – he went down fighting to Chen Jin of China in the third round – and he is more confident now. He is included (ahead of Yeoh Kay Bin) because his coach (Li Mao) sees his potential.”
Nadzmi said the players had also vowed to show more commitment in training.
“The players were open. They realised that they need to put more effort to be at par with badminton giants China. Our team have improved but their commitment needs to be increased.”
Malaysia last won gold medals at the 1970 Bangkok Asiad. The gold medallists then were Datuk Punch Gunalan (men’s singles), Gunalan-Ng Boon Bee (men’s doubles) and Boon Bee-Slyvia Ng (mixed doubles).
Lee Chong Wei, Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Kuan Beng Hong, Mohd Roslin Hashim, Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah, Chan Chong Ming-Koo Kien Keat.
Lee Chong Wei, Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah, Chan Chong Ming-Koo Kien Keat.
Wong Mew Choo, Julia Wong, Norsyaliza Baharum, Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui, Lim Pek Siah-Joanne Quay, Ooi Sock Ai
Wong Mew Choo, Julia Wong, Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty, Lim Pek Siah-Joanne Quay.
Koo Kien Keat-Wong Pei Tty, Mohd Roslin Hashim-Joanne Quay.