Under-fire Daren almost called it quits


KUALA LUMPUR: Under-fire men’s singles shuttler Liew Daren was on the verge of leaving the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) last month after a series of poor performance. 

But after a meeting with the BAM president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff recently, Daren has been coaxed to stay on. 

Daren, who had been plagued by injuries, admitted that it has been a year to forget.

“The expectation is high on a senior national player under the BAM. After the Perak Open (in October), I was toying with the idea of turning pro. I was quite frustrated with my game. 

“I met up with the president but I have been talked into staying on,” said Daren. 

“I still want to realise my dream of qualifying for the Olympic Games. I will have to raise my game and start doing well in all international tournaments next year (in a bid to improve his world ranking).”
 
This year saw his world ranking dropped from the top 20 to 85th spot. His only prominent showing in an Open tournament was reaching the semi-finals of the Indonesian Open Grand Prix Gold. 

He also did quite well in two team events – the Thomas Cup Finals in May in New Delhi and at the recent Axiata Cup – winning most of his matches.

While Daren is planning to make a stronger comeback next season starting with the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold in Kuching in January, he has an unfinished business before the year ends. 

Daren, who withdrew from the Sabah Open which started on Wednesday, has set his sights on the National Grand Prix Finals in Terengganu from Dec 27-30. He qualified for the finale by virtue of being the Perak Open champion. 

“I aggravated my heel injury during the Axiata Cup (last week) and decided to give the Sabah Open a miss. I have two more weeks to be ready for the GP Finals,” said Daren, whose previous best showing in the National Championships was a semi-final finish.  

“There is a chance of becoming the national champion for the first time and I hope to make it happen.”
   

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