PETALING JAYA: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are expecting old-timer Tan Boon Heong to join the national training in March.
The BAM offered the 30-year-old Boon Heong a place in the national team in a bid to strengthen the doubles department.
The move is inspired by Indonesia recalling 33-year-old Hendra Setiawan, who proved to be an instant hero by helping them win the Asia Team Championships.
Former world No. 1 Boon Heong is, however, out of the country as he’s on his Chinese New Year break. And he is unlikely to be back before March.
“We’ve put forth the offer to Boon Heong and we’re now just awaiting his response,” said BAM secretary Datuk Ng Chin Chai.
“Unfortunately, he’s in China right now and even if he accepts our terms, I only expect him to report for training in March.
“Of course it will be better if he can join us as soon as possible because we do want to see how he can fit into the team.
“We want him in the team for the long term though. It’s not just for one event.
“If possible, we would like him to push for the Asian Games in August and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well,” added Chin Chai.
Boon Heong, who partnered three-time world champion Hendra last season, is definitely a much-needed boost for the doubles squad.
With the exception of world No. 15 and Rio Olympic silver medallists Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, the other national pairs in the set-up – Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi, Chooi Kah Ming-Low Juan Shen, Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani and Shia Chun Kang-Tan Wee Gieen – have not inspired confidence.
Boon Heong’s presence will also lift the team as they look to challenge for honours at the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok in May.