National No.2 shuttler Chong Wei Feng's world ranking has dropped from No. 14 to No. 25. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: The Thomas Cup Finals in New Delhi from May 18-25 will be a platform for national men’s singles shuttlers Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren to redeem themselves.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) deputy president Datuk Norza Zakaria said that many chances had been given to Wei Feng and Daren to showcase their talent but the duo have continued to struggle.
“The council members are concerned with their performances of late. Currently, we do not have a strong second ranked singles player in the country. Hopefully, Wei Feng and Daren will use the Finals to redeem themselves,” said Norza.
Wei Feng has dropped from No. 14 to No. 25 in the world while Daren is languishing at No. 66. The progress of both players had been hampered by injuries but the good news is that they are on the mend.
World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Wei Feng and Daren have been confirmed for the Finals squad. The fourth spot in the singles department has been won by Goh Soon Huat, who beat Misbun Ramdan Misbun in a selection trial at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara on Tuesday.
The council will finalise the singles squad tomorrow and they can choose to accept the coaches’ recommendation by approving all four – Chong Wei, Wei Feng, Daren and Soon Huat.
The council could also overrule the coaches’ decision and name Ramdan instead of Soon Huat. This is because Ramdan has proven himself by winning several international titles.
Ramdan has won five international titles, albeit in tournaments of lower status, while Soon Huat’s best was a runner-up spot in the 2012 Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold meet.
And Soon Huat has yet to prove himself outside of Malaysia.
The council also have the option to include both Soon Huat and Ramdan and exclude Daren – if they feel that younger players deserve a chance to prove themselves.
Whatever the decision, Norza said that the BAM council would be objective and pragmatic.
“The interest of the nation will come first when we deliberate on naming the squad for the Thomas Cup Finals. There is high expectation by the public on this sport. We need to be fair, objective and ensure that our decision is the best for the nation,” said Norza.
The council will also have to decide whether to bring back Koo Kien Keat, who quit BAM in March, to beef up the doubles team or to name either Chan Peng Soon or Ow Yao Han for the job.
The doubles players confirmed are Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem and Tan Boon Heong.
Malaysia, who are in Group C with South Korea, Germany and India, have set a semi-final target for the Finals. Only the top two teams from the group will advance to the quarter-finals.
Two years ago in Thomas Cup Finals held in Wuhan, China, Malaysia lost 3-0 to the hosts in the quarter-finals.