KUALA LUMPUR: Former world junior doubles champion Mak Hee Chun has given up the chance to play competitive badminton in Hong Kong to don national colours once again.
He reported for national duty after being recalled by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to strengthen the men’s doubles department.
The 25-year-old Hee Chun, who won the national title with Tan Bin Shen as independent players last December, is happy to be back after three years.
And he also promised to turn over a new leaf.
He left the national team in the early days of 2012 and his last major assignment was the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia.
He had walked out of BAM because he felt that he could not cope with the pressure and environment of training, which also saw him struggling with several disciplinary issues.
But Hee Chun is delighted to be given a second chance to realise his dream of playing in the Olympic Games and Thomas Cup Finals.
“I would have gone to Hong Kong last month ... fortunately Jeremy (Gan, national doubles head coach) asked me to reconsider playing for Malaysia,” said Hee Chun.
“I’ve enjoyed my days as an independent player. There was no pressure but it’s difficult for independent players to feature in majors like the Olympics and Thomas Cup Finals.
“I know the commitment required to be in the national team again. I trust coach Jeremy and I believe he has a good plan for me. I’ll leave it to him to find me a partner.
“There will be pressure to perform but I’ll be better prepared this time,” added Hee Chun, who won the world junior title with Teo Kok Siang in 2008.
Jeremy said the presence of Hee Chun would solve some of his problems following the resignation of two seniors – Lim Khim Wah and Hoon Thien How – last month.
“He is not that young but still has quality and standard in his game. I’m glad that he agreed to come back. He is the first independent player to return to the national fold,” said Jeremy.
“It’s not easy to coax an independent player. They have enjoyed the freedom outside. I have set some conditions and he has his own but we know that we can work together.
“Winning his trust was important. Now, I need to find the right partner for him. I hope that once we’ve sorted out the partnership issues, all the players can give their full concentration in training.”
Jeremy may reunite Hee Chun with Kok Siang or pair him up with Tan Boon Heong.
The others in the men’s doubles elite team are Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, Kok Siang-Chooi Kah Ming, Tan Wee Gieen-Teo Ee Yi and Boon Heong-Ow Yao Han.