Wong offers to help revive badminton’s sagging fortunes

PETALING JAYA: Former international Wong Choong Hann (pic) will not rule himself out of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director’s post — if the opportunity arises.

The 41-year-old, a one-time World Championships silver medallist, declared himself open to any possibility and is prepared to give it a shot if there’s a chance for him to help revive the dwindling fortunes of Malaysian badminton.

Choong Hann is said to be among the frontrunners for the job alongside Indonesian Rexy Mainaky with the BAM currently evaluating their list of potential candidates to assume the role.

Choong Hann is now serving the BAM as one of the members of the Coach Education Panel (CEP), which was tasked to review the existing coaching methods and improve the quality of coaching.

But it is not a full-time job and he’s doing it on a voluntary basis.

But Choong Hann, who also runs his own business, believes he has much more to offer and is willing to step in.

“I don’t know where the rumours of me running for the job came from, but I can confirm that I have not been contacted by the BAM yet,” said Choong Hann, who helped Malaysia to three runner-up finishes in the Thomas Cup.

However, when pressed on whether he’s interested in the role, Choong Hann said: “I’m open to options. If there’s an opportunity for me to serve the national team and if the BAM think I meet their criteria, it’s definitely worth it.

“As a former national player, I’m always very concerned about the local badminton scene and always hope the national shuttlers do well on the international stage. I also want to contribute in anyway I can, be it inside or outside (the BAM).

“That’s why we set up and run our own academy to nurture young shuttlers.”

Choong Hann has established himself as one of the country’s top junior coaches over the years.

Together with other former internationals – including former internationals Lee Wan Wah, Chew Choon Eng and Chan Chong Ming – the quartet have founded Pioneer Badminton Academy in 2009.

BAM are looking for a head honcho following the players’ dismal showing in several major tournaments this year.

The team failed to return home with medals from the Asian Games in Jakarta, the World Championships in Nanjing, China (last month), the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok, Thailand (May), and the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia (April).

Malaysia are without a coaching director following Dane Morten Frost’s decision to give up his technical director’s post, which he held from 2015-2017.

The training programme is currently run by five heads – Datuk Misbun Sidek (men’s singles), Datuk Tey Seu Bock (women’s singles), Paulus Firman (men’s doubles), Rosman Razak (women’s doubles) and Pang Cheh Chang (mixed doubles).