Rashid baffled by decision to bar independent players

Pep talk: Cheras Badminton Club head coach Rashid Sidek (left) and singles coach Nova Armada (centre) giving instructions to their boys’ singles player Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin during the Junior Purple League match at the Sports Arena Puchong yesterday.

PETALING JAYA: Former national shuttler Rashid Sidek is baffled by the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) decision to bar independent players from competing in Superseries and Grand Prix Gold tournaments.

The BAM council had decided on Saturday to allow club players to only participate in third-tier Grand Prix tournaments and below.

The only way non-BAM players can get to compete in the Superseries and Grand Prix Gold events is to join BAM.

But Rashid has described the decision as “unfair”.

“I understand that BAM, as the governing body, are entitled to make rules as they please. They have their own rationale for it,” said Rashid, who is the head coach of professional club Sports Affair.

“What I don’t get is their timing in implementing it. It would have made sense if BAM had lots of players winning one Superseries or GP Gold tournament after another.

“Other than Lee Chong Wei, who are the other BAM singles players who have won the Superseries or GP Gold these past years?

“They have no one. Yet, they want to stop others from trying to produce champions. I’m baffled.

“The professional clubs are working alongside BAM to produce champions. We source our own funds. It’s a noble task. The clubs are not competing against BAM.

“So, why stop us like this?

“Clubs nurture the players and now BAM want to take them away when they are good enough. How can the clubs be able to justify their roles to the sponsors?

“I fear that this will lead to the slow death of badminton clubs.”

Eight professional players were exempted from the BAM ruling. They are Chong Wei Feng, Zulfadli Zulkiffli, Liew Daren, Tan Boon Heong, Lim Khim Wah, Sannatasah Saniru, K. Yogendran and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif.

One player who didn’t make the cut was world No. 70 Goh Giap Chin of New Vision Badminton Academy. He did not make it because he failed to reach the main draw in any of the Superseries the last one year.

And Rashid feels for Giap Chin.

“Things did not work for Giap Chin when he was with BAM. Now, he is enjoying himself on the international stage again and even defeated several BAM players. It’s sad that he won’t not get to play in the GP Gold although his world ranking has improved,” said Rashid.

“He has even found his own sponsor. He has opportunity to compete in bigger tournaments with his club.

“What guarantee is there that he’ll get the same opportunity if he rejoins BAM?”

Meanwhile, Rashid’s team – Cheras Badminton Club – emerged as the Junior Purple League champions for the first time.

The club did it by winning their last two matches on the final of day of the league – beating Petaling Jaya BC 11-9 and Puchong United 13-5 – at the Sports Arena Puchong yesterday.

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