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Thursday October 18, 2012

Joo-bong has some unfinished business in Malaysia

ODENSE: Barring one final meeting with his current employers, the Japan BA, South Korean Park Joo-bong is set to assume the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director’s post.

And it’s a task he relishes because “I have some unfinished business with Malaysian badminton”.

The 44-year-old, who is here with the Japan team for the Den­mark Open, coached the Malaysian team for three years and three months from 2000-2003. For the most part of it, Joo-bong was the men’s doubles chief coach although he did take up the supremo post briefly when Denmark’s Morten Frost left.

“There are some reasons why I’ve been attracted to the idea of returning to Malaysia ... there are some things that I want to set right,” said Joo-bong yesterday.

“I like to set big goals and work towards achieving them. My target then was the 2000 Olympic Games, the Thomas Cup Finals in 2002 and the World Championships in Seville (2001). The field was strong at the Olympics but we had a good chance in the Thomas Cup and world meet.”

None of the Malaysians won a medal at the 2000 Sydney Games, with Lee Wan Wah-Choong Tan Fook losing in the bronze medal playoff.

Malaysia also had two semi-finalists – Tan Fook-Wan Wah and Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng – at the World Championships in Seville but both pairs crashed out.

At the Thomas Cup in Guangzhou in 2002, Malaysia came close to wresting the crown after 10 years but eventually lost 3-2 to Indonesia in a thrilling final.

One of Malaysia’s most notable achievements under Joo-bong then was beating Indonesia to the team title for the first time in 10 years at the 2001 SEA Games.

Joo-bong admitted that during his previous stint with Malaysia, he lacked the authority to carry out some of his plans.

“In Japan, I get full support to plan and execute the coaching and training programmes. The Japan national team only get together before a major event and, most of the times, the players are with their clubs.

“The association manage the finances. Sometimes, I get fundings to run the programme while at other times I’ll tweak it (the programme) if there is insufficient money,” he said.

Joo-bong acknowledged that “things are looking positive after several discussions with BAM”.

“However, I can only decide after the final meeting with the Japan BA. I have a contract with them until March,” he pointed out.

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