GENTING: Liew Daren has only one regret after calling time on his 12-year career with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
And it’s failing to skipper Malaysia to victory in the 2014 Thomas Cup in India.
Daren, the team captain then, lost the deciding tie to Takuma Ueda as Malaysia went down 3-2 to Japan in the final.
The 28-year-old tendered his resignation to BAM last week and the world No. 102 shuttler is expected to leave the national set-up after the Malaysian Masters in Penang next week.
“I felt that the time is right for me to go. My form has not been great of late and a lot of juniors have also stepped up,” said Daren.
“I consulted my coaches and they advised me to make my own decision.
“Having been part of BAM since I was 16, I’ve gone through a lot.
“Winning the French Open was definitely the highlight of my career, while the lowest was losing in the Thomas Cup final two years ago.
“But I’m not done playing badminton yet. I’m still looking to continue playing as a professional ... I’ll sort out my future soon.”
His decision makes sense as he has never regained the form that saw him achieve a career high ranking of No. 10 in the world in 2013.
Although he is the only Malaysian after world No. 5 Lee Chong Wei to have won a Superseries title, the French meet in 2012, Daren has often struggled for form and fitness over the past two years.
With Daren leaving, the senior shuttlers left in the national set-up are Chong Wei, Chong Wei Feng, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Goh Soon Huat.
Last year, several others – Hoon Thien How, Lim Khim Wah, Tan Boon Heong, Mak Hee Chun and Teo Kok Siang – also left BAM.
Daren, however, did not let his decision to leave BAM distract his focus as he led Puchong United Badminton Club to a 12-8 win over Petaling BC in the Resorts World Genting Purple League Champions Challenge.
The much-maligned shuttler, who had just returned from a two-month injury layoff, set the pace for his team with a 4-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-10 win over national champion Iskandar in the first men’s singles tie.
Puchong United, who finished third in the league, will meet either Kepong BC for a place in the final.
First round: Puchong United BC bt Petaling BC 12-8 (Liew Daren bt Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin 4-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-10; Ayumi Mine bt Elisabeth Purwaningtyas 11-4, 11-6, 11-4; Yew Hong Kheng-Cheng Wen-hsing lost 4-11, 9-11, 7-11; Ow Yao Han-Tan Wee Gieen bt Shia Chun Kang-Lew Ming Hui 11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 10-11, 11-8; Soo Teck Zhi bt Tan Vi Hen 9-11, 11-4, 10-11, 11-5, 11-5)
Kepong BC bt Petaling Jaya BC 12-11 (Wei Nan bt R. Satheishtharan 11-7, 10-11, 11-7, 11-4; Tee Jing Yi bt Yang Li Lian 10-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9; Ong Jian Guo-Mei Qili lost to Songphon Anugritayawon-Prajakta Sawant 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 10-11, 3-11; Low Juan Shen-Tai An Khang lost to Or Chin Chung-Tang Chun Man 7-11, 11-7, 4-11, 6-11; Chong Wei Feng bt K. Yogendran 5-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5).