Tan Boon Heong (left) and Hoon Thien How in action during the recently concluded Thomas Cup in India. Boon Heong has been left out of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games beginning next month. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: The decision not to include Tan Boon Heong in the Commonwealth Games squad was made in the best interest of the team.
This was the explanation given by Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) deputy president Datuk Norza Zakaria yesterday.
Boon Heong, who won the men’s doubles gold medal with Koo Kien Keat at the last Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010, was upset at being left out of the squad for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games next month.
Each country is allowed to field five men and five women shuttlers for the Games, which will be from July 23-Aug 3.
“The situation is such that we are only allowed to send five men and five women,” said Norza.
“It limits our options and we can only send our best prospects for the Games. I think it was clear from the Thomas Cup performances (in New Delhi recently) that Wee Kiong-V Shem are currently our best at the moment ... which is why we’re sending them.
“That is not to say that other players like Boon Heong aren’t good enough. If we can send a sixth player, we would send him but we do not have that option.”
Malaysia, who also won the team gold in New Delhi in 2010, have named world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Chong Wei Feng, Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem and mixed doubles shuttler Chan Peng Soon for the Glasgow Games.
The women heading for Glasgow are singles shuttler Tee Jing Yi, top pair Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei and two more doubles players – Lai Pei Jing and Lim Yin Loo. The 21-year-old Pei Jing is expected to challenge for a medal with Peng Soon in the mixed doubles.
Norza also explained that no selection was done because the deadline to submit the names was May 26, the day the Thomas Cup squad returned from India.
“We appreciate all the efforts of the players ... they are all good players but we can’t send everyone due to the limited space and tight deadline,” said Norza.
With BAM’s decision likely to be final, Boon Heong will have to buckle down and prove BAM wrong when he partners V Shem in the Japan Open, which starts from June 10-15 in Tokyo.
Boon Heong- V Shem will take on world No. 3 and home favourites Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa in the first round.
Two other pairs – world No. 7 Wee Kiong-Hoon Thien How and scratch combination Lim Khim Wah-Ow Yao Han – are also in the fray.
In men’s singles, Chong Wei and Wei Feng will shoulder the challenge while Liew Daren will start from the qualifiers.