KUALA LUMPUR: Former Under-18 boys’ singles champion Yeoh Seng Zoe has quit the national badminton team.
That leaves national head coach Datuk Misbun Sidek with 12 players. And Misbun has now divided the players into the elite and back up squads.
“Seng Zoe left because he cannot push himself in training after coming back from a knee injury. His injury is hampering his progress,” said Misbun after a training session at Academy Badminton Malaysia yesterday.
Seng Zoe was drafted into the Badminton Association of Malaysia in 2015 when the then Looi Badminton Academy player defeated two Bukit Jalil Sports School players en route to winning the Under-18 title in the National Junior Circuit Grand Prix Finals.
Misbun said he decided to split the squad to give the players specialised attention.
Misbun will look after eight elite players – Lee Chong Wei, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Soong Joo Ven, Lim Chi Wing, Lee Zii Jia, Chong Yee Han, Soo Teck Zhi and Tan Jia Wei. He is assisted by Indra Widjaja.
The other group is coached by Hendrawan and Sairul Amar Ayob. Their players are Leong Jun Hao, Sim Fong Hau, Cheam June Wei and Tan Choong Yen.
Misbun added that Chong Wei has the freedom to train under all coaches.
“The decision was made so that the coaches will be accountable for their respective players. But overall, we train together,” said Misbun.
“Chong Wei has reached a level where he can train under anyone. He already knows what to do.
“We’ve given Chong Wei the freedom to train depending on what specific area he wants to work on that day.
“Different players from both groups get to spar with him. He’s committed in raising the standard of the juniors.
“I’ve a bigger group. I’ll focus more on the younger players as all of them need attention.
“Hendrawan has a few players so that he can give more time to Chong Wei if there is a need.”
Hendrawan will be accompanying Chong Wei to the Denmark Open next week in Odense.