National singles shuttler Liew Daren has been dropped form the Asian Games badminton squad after a string of poor performances. - Filepic
GLASGOW: National men’s singles shuttler Liew Daren’s worst fear has come true – he is out of the Incheon Asian Games.
On Sunday, national singles coach Rashid Sidek confirmed that he would recommend that Daren’s place be given to younger players for all future tournaments, including the Asiad in South Korea next month.
Daren knew that he had dug his own grave when he lost 13-21, 14-21 to India’s P. Kashyap in the quarter-finals of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Friday.
Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rashid said that time has run out for Daren and that he will push for players like Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Goh Soon Huat to be given a chance.
“After this, we will give the juniors the opportunity to represent the country. It is okay even if they lose. We have four more years to find new players for the Games,” said Rashid.
“Some players have been given a longer time than others. Daren has been given many chances.”
Rashid, however, believes 2012 French Open champion Daren can still turn around his fortunes - if he wants too.
“Daren is 27 years’ old but, to me, it is not about age. It is about commitment and attitude in training. He has played for the country for a long time and, if he wants to, he can turn things around.”
Rashid, however, was more lenient towards Chong Wei Feng, who went down fighting 15-21, 21-8, 21-17 to R.M.V Gurusaidutt of India.
Gurusaidutt went on to beat 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph of England 21-15, 14-21, 21-19 for a bronze medal on Saturday.
“Wei Feng did well at the Thomas Cup Finals this year. He is still a player ranked in the top 20. It is not fair to judge him just by one tournament. Of course, we are disappointed with his results but we are confident he will bounce back,” said Rashid.
Wei Feng has qualified for the World Championships in Copenhagen from Aug 25-31 and is set to be named for the Asian Games together with Lee Chong Wei.
Rashid acknowledged that it would be quite impossible to find a replica of Chong Wei or even a replacement for the world No. 1 in the near future.
“Chong Wei is an extraordinary player. We will be kidding ourselves if we are hoping for Wei Feng and Daren to play like Chong Wei. We will be happy if they can do at least 80% of what Chong Wei can,” said Rashid.
“We have to be realistic. China are having the same problem. They cannot find another Lin Dan.
“It may take another 10 years to find another rare talent like Chong Wei. We must make do with the best we have and work with them.”
Besides Soon Huat and Iskandar, the other men’s singles in the back-up squad are Soong Joo Ven, Soo Teck Zhi, Choong Yee Han and Tan Kian Meng. The professional players are Misbun Ramdan Misbun and Zulfadli Zulkiffli.