THEY were chosen for the Uber Cup 2021. One played a match and the other played three. They were seen as the next generation of women’s singles players for Malaysia.
After their foray in the Uber Cup, they competed in the Czech Open from Oct 21 to 24. One emerged a runner-up and the other was beaten by her in the quarter-finals of that competition.
That was the last we heard of them until we found out that they are now in the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) freezer for reasons best known to the latter.
The two players are Siti Nurshuhaini Azman, who is only 18, and K. Letshanaa, 19. After their good showing at the Uber Cup and Czech Open last year, they have not been selected for any more international tournaments.
Both have been withdrawn from three BWF tournaments early this year – the Yonex Estonian Open (Jan 13 – 16), Victor Swedish Open (Jan 20 – 23) and Victor Ukraine Open (Jan 27 – 30).
BAM can send men’s singles and doubles players to these tournaments so why were the women’s singles players withdrawn?
BAM can send the new mixed doubles pair of Chan Peng Soon/Valarie Siow to the BWF 500 series, yet these upcoming women’s singles players have apparently been put in the freezer.
When S. Kisona lost to her Canadian opponent in the Uber Cup last year, she was withdrawn from the French Open despite being eligible for it. She was sent home to return to training in a bid to regain her top condition before the World Championships in Huelva, Spain, from Dec 12 – 19. When she returned to the World Championships, it was still the same Kisona. She had been training for two months, but nothing had changed.
Now, two promising young players are in the freezer. What is BAM doing?
Cheam Jun Wei said that during his younger playing days, there were Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Liew Daren, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and others around so he was not sent for tournaments. But Loh Kean Yew was exposed by the Singapore Badminton Association when he was 16 or 17. Now at 25, he is the reigning men’s singles world champion.
BAM should learn from their Singapore counterpart. Expose players at a younger age so that by 25, they can be more mature at international level.
As a badminton fan, I hope BAM has a better plan ahead after the withdrawal of these two women’s singles players.
V2K SP , Sungai Petani, Kedah