PETALING JAYA: Shape up or ship out! And the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) really mean business.
The BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria (pic) has issued a three-month deadline for shuttlers to deliver results following Malaysia’s woeful showing at the All-England.
At the prestigious meet in Birmingham, Malaysia only had two representatives – men’s singles world No. 5 Lee Chong Wei and men’s doubles Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong – in the quarter-finals but both failed to progress further.
Chong Wei lost to nemesis Lin Dan while V Shem-Wee Kiong were beaten by Danish veterans Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen.
In contrast, China and Japan both had 10 representatives in the last eight. Japan also earned a breakthrough when unheralded Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino claimed Japan’s first ever mixed doubles title by beating Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong.
And Norza’s patience is finally running thin.
“I am giving all my head coaches three months to improve their respective departments,” said Norza after chairing a meeting with the coaches and the Podium Programme management yesterday.
“Besides showing improvement, the coaches also need to give me a list of players who should be dropped from the national team.
“We need a high performance mindset and I don’t want players going overseas for tournaments just for the sake of gaining experience.
“They have to show the desire to fight for the country’s glory. If they don’t have that characteristic then the coaches must identify and drop them.
“It’s not just the players who have three months. The coaches also need to buck up because the players’ poor showing is a reflection of their coaching.
“This is quite a critical stage for us because if we don’t do something urgently, we’ll fade into oblivion.”
Besides that, Norza also called upon the Podium Programme and their support service to provide a more robust system in order to tackle a glaring weakness – mental strength.
“I am not happy with the players’ mental strength and I’ve told Podium Programme director Tim (Newenham) about it,” said Norza.
“I want them to come up with a more robust system for the players, especially with the Commonwealth Games and the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals coming up.”
BAM have set a three-gold medal target for the Commonwealth Games squad and their main challengers will come from India and England.
Malaysia have named Chong Wei, V Shem-Wee Kiong, Chan Peng Soon, Goh Soon Huat (men), Soniia Cheah, Vivian Hoo-Chow Mei Kuan, Goh Liu Ying and Shevon Lai Jemie for the Gold Coast Games.