PETALING JAYA: The door is still open for independent shuttlers Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Chong Wei Feng to represent Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have recommended 36 names – including Zulfadli and Wei Feng – to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) for the KL Games.
The BAM must decide on the 10 men and 10 women shuttlers for the KL Games by the end of June.
Former world junior champion Zulfadli is the national No. 2 while SEA Games defending champion Wei Feng is the national No. 4.
Zulfadli is No. 33 in the world ranking while Wei Feng is No. 44.
The other singles players in the BAM list are world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Iskandar Iskandar Zulkarnain (No. 34), Lee Zii Jia (No. 117), R. Satheishtharan (No. 123), Lim Chi Wing (No. 134) and Tan Jia Wei (No. 139).
The Olympic Games silver medallists – Chong Wei (men’s singles), Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (men’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles) – are unlikely to represent Malaysia at the SEA Games as they will be competing in the World Championships in Glasgow.
The KL Games will be from Aug 19-30 and the world meet is from Aug 21-27.
Former international Rashid Sidek, who is also the head coach of professional club Sports Affair, has applauded the national body’s open policy.
“The BAM could have chosen players under their banner, but they’ve decided to open it to independent shuttlers. That’s fair because Zulfadli and Wei Feng are ranked higher than some of the back-up shuttlers,” said Rashid.
“The national body will make the final decision but, at least, Zulfadli and Wei Feng will now be motivated to prove themselves.
“It will also encourage all the other independent shuttlers ... that they can represent the country if they are good enough or better than the BAM players,” he said.
Rashid, however, is sceptical of Malaysia’s chances in men’s singles at the KL Games.
“Indonesia have good back-up players. Jonatan Christie has been playing well. Thailand too have a few good players. Even Wei Feng, who won the singles title at the Singapore SEA Games, and Zulfadli will find it tough if they are selected,” said Rashid.