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Thursday October 4, 2012

Joo-bong set to return as director of coaching

KUALA LUMPUR: South Korean Park Joo-bong is set to make a comeback to Malaysia in January as the director of coaching, rather than a project manager, with the BA of Malaysia (BAM).

After a meeting between BAM’s top brass and National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong, it appears that Joo-bong will be on the first flight to Malaysia come January.

But BAM president Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Salleh stopped short of revealing the name of the candidate they are looking to hire, although there were enough hints to confirm that Joo-bong is their man.

Joo-bong, who is contracted to the Japan BA as head coach until next March, had earlier revealed his interest to take up a position with the BAM.

He also became the frontrunner for the position after several local candidates failed to win any favours during the last BAM exco meeting, headed by Nadzmi.

But instead of a project manager who will oversee three squads – singles, doubles and the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) – to produce world beaters for the Olympics in 2016, 2020 and 2024, Joo-bong now seems likely to land the position of director of coaching – equivalent to the previous high performance director’s role.

“We had a good discussion with the NSC on several issues that require their approval and the position of a director of coaching was one of them,” said Nadzmi after the meeting.

“We have basically zeroed in on one prime candidate and we will announce his appointment when the time is right.

“What we can say is that he’s an excellent choice to be the director of coaching, with a good background in badminton and has already shown indications that he’s interested in the job.

“There will be more discussions with him because he’s still under contract with another country until early next year.

“We are looking to hire him as early as in January next year and are willing to pay off the remainder of his existing contract.”

Joo-bong, the national chief coach from 2000-2003, is likely to be offered a three-year contract with an option for extensi on.

BAM will also be using the Denmark Open (Oct 16-21) and the French Open (Oct 23-28) to further negotiate with Joo- bong.

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