KUALA LUMPUR: National men’s singles shuttler Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin can heave a huge sigh of relief for now but the badminton careers of two others - Asian junior champion Soo Teck Zhi and Chong Yee Han are over.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching and training committee dropped eight national shuttlers, including two men’s singles players in a downsizing exercise yesterday.
Four resigned – men’s doubles shuttlers Chooi Kah Ming and Low Juan Shen and women’s singles players Tee Jing Yi and Soong Fie Cho.
Last month, BAM dropped five when the contract of probationers, including Lim Khim Wah, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and Nur Azryn Ayob were not extended.
The BA of Malaysia did not name the eight players dropped yesterday but it is learnt that the two casualties from the men’s singles department were Teck Zhi and Yee Han.
The duo have been without good results for some time despite given many chances to prove themselves.
Earlier, the 27-year-old Iskandar has been under heavy scrutiny due to his smoking habit and disciplinary problem, which saw him being dropped from the Asian Games squad.
But it looks like the BAM are giving Iskandar more time to prove his worth.
The national squad are left with 55 players following yesterday’s move to further reshape the national team into a leaner and meaner set-up.
CNT chairman Datuk Ng Chin Chai said they would inform the players of their decision before releasing the names.
“We’ll let the coaches inform the players first,” said Chin Chai after chairing the first CNT meeting since his appointment last month.
Chin Chai said there would not be further changes made to the squad – comprising nine men’s singles; women’s singles (eight); men’s doubles (17); women’s doubles (11); and mixed doubles (10) – until the next review window in November.
“The players dropped today are those who have been with us for some time and we believe they will not go far anymore,” said Chin Chai.
“We have 55 today. But the number will grow at the end of the year because eight from the Asian Juniors (Championships) squad will be promoted to the national team but on probation. The optimum number we’re looking at is 60.”
Meanwhile, the CNT granted permission to independent shuttlers to compete in World Tour top flight tournaments on three conditions.
Only former internationals, who either resigned or dropped from the BAM, aged 25 and above, and ranked inside the top 200, will be allowed to play.
Meanwhile, Chin Chai said the first batch of shuttlers will undergo smoking test at the University Malaya Medical Centre tomorrow.
He also added that the BA of Malaysia have set a modest one podium finish for the national team bound for the World Championships in Nanjing from July 30-Aug 5.
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