PETALING JAYA: National coaches and players past and present gave their thumbs up to the appointment of former world No. 1 Wong Choong Hann (pic) as the new coaching director of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
The 41-year-old’s appointment was announced by BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria after an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Saturday.
Choong Hann, who is also a world championships silver medallist, will begin his two-year contract from Jan 1 next year.
He will be overseeing the coaches of the national squad, including the 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).
Rosman was in agreement with the new appointment and believes Choong Hann will be a welcome addition to the squad.
“We support BAM’s decision to hire Choong Hann as our coaching director and I’m looking forward to working with him,” said Rosman.
“As a former world No. 1, he can share his wealth of experience with the players and as to what he will bring as a coach, we must wait for further discussions with him.”
Cheh Chang, who is with the mixed doubles team at the Denmark Open, said Malaysia are happy that the former top men’s singles player has returned to help.
“Malaysian badminton is looking forward to welcoming Choong Hann. He was a hard-working, dedicated and sincere player and he’s also mentally strong.
“I’m sure he will bring all these characteristics to his management skills as well as improve Malaysian badminton.”
Singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia is excited to see what Choong Hann will bring to the team.
“I hope he can lead Malaysian badminton in the right direction and he can share his experience with us, especially in the singles department.
“Growing up, I watched a lot of his videos and looked up to him and Lee Chong Wei, so I’m very excited that he’s the new coaching director.”
Men’s doubles player Man Wei Chong is equally excited about the return of his childhood badminton idol to the national squad as the coaching director.
“He was a legend when I was young and I’m sure he has the experience to be the coaching director in BAM. I believe he can understand each player’s style and can easily guide us.
“Although I’m a doubles player I’m sure he will still have lots to share with us. I have never met him before, so it’s exciting.”
Former doubles player Datuk Razif Sidek is hoping that Choong Hann can help Malaysiato finally win an Olympic gold medal.
“Hopefully, he can revamp the system of badminton in the country and take BAM in the right direction. He’s still young with lots of energy and he knows the game, the trend and system.
“I believe he’s the best candidate because he has gone through a lot with BAM and I think he can make the changes to better our badminton.”
Former international Datuk James Selvaraj also welcomed the fact that a Malaysian is taking over the role but is at the same time unsure if one and a half years is enough for him to help deliver the Olympic gold medal.
“Do we have players in the calibre of Chong Wei to bring the gold medal? Maybe he can bring it in the other events but he’s in a tough situation. But it’s good he has accepted the post and taken up the challenge.
“Hopefully, he can convince the head coaches to deliver.”