Sannatasah Saniru will get a chance to take part in a selection trial to win a spot in the Uber Cup Finals squad.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are once again throwing a lifeline to three former internationals to win places in the squad for the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals from May 18-25 in New Delhi.
Former national champion Misbun Ramdan Misbun, Zulfadli Zulkifli and Sannatasah Saniru have been invited to take part in a second round of selection trials, which will take place on April 28 at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara.
When the BAM conducted their first selection trials last month, Ramdan and Zulfadli could not attend because both were ill.
In their absence, last year’s Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold runner-up Goh Soon Huat won the trial, which also saw the participation of former internationals Tan Chun Seang and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif.
The win put Soon Huat as the frontrunner for the last spot in the Thomas Cup men’s singles team. The three other slots had been confirmed by world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren.
In the men’s doubles, Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem and Tan Boon Heong have confirmed their places and the coaches will decide soon on the last slot. It comes down to either Ow Yao Han or Chan Peng Soon.
The BAM did not conduct a trial for the women’s singles last month and eventually, four players – Tee Jing Yi, Yang Li Lian, Lim Chiew Sien and Lim Yin Fun - were named in their tentative list.
That decision however, did not go down too well with Sabah Badminton Association (SBA) as they felt the country’s second ranked player Sannatasah, who turned pro last year, deserved a spot.
The SBA sent an official letter, asking BAM to re-consider Sannatasah, and their move has certainly paid dividends.
On Thursday, national singles chief coach Rashid Sidek, who has been put in charge of overseeing the preparations of the Thomas-Uber Cup teams, said that Soon Huat will have to attend the trials again.
“We are aware that Soon Huat has taken part in the first stage but two others could not make it because of medical reasons. In good faith, BAM will be sending out an invitation to Ramdan and Zulfadli to attend the trials again,” said Rashid.
“The trial for the men’s singles will not be done on a round robin format. Ramdan and Zulfadli will have to take on each other first. The winner will then challenge Soon Huat for a spot in the Finals.”
In the women’s singles, Rashid said that only national No. 1 Tee Jing Yi is exempted from the trials. The others – Li Lian, Chiew Sien and Yin Fun will play in a round robin together with Sannatasah.
On the proposed team’s centralised and motivation camp for the Finals, Rashid said: “We still have not decided on a venue for the camp. There was a suggestion to have the camp in Penang but now, we may have to have it elsewhere because of a lack of facilities there.”
BAM have to submit entries by name for the Finals to the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on May 4.