PETALING JAYA: National men’s singles trio Soong Joo Ven, Cheam June Wei and Lim Chi Wing were sent to the Lingshui China Masters in the hope that they would secure good results and improve their world rankings — but they all failed miserably.
And Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann was not too pleased after none of the trio made it past the second round of the sixth-tier World Tour event on Wednesday.
June Wei lost 19-21, 21-18, 17-21 to world No. 258 Weng Hongyang while Lim Chi Wing’s first international outing this year ended up with him going down 20-22, 20-22 to the virtually unknown Taiwanese Huang Ping-hsien, ranked No. 1,282 in the world.
Two-time national champion Chi Wing had earlier beaten Joo Ven 12-21, 21-19, 21-19 in the first round.
But Joo Ven’s defeat was certainly uncharacteristic, especially after he was crowned the national champion last month and had enjoyed a decent run to the quarter-finals at the German Open two weeks ago.
“The Super 100 (sixth-tier) event in Asia is always more competitive compared to the ones in Europe, but that doesn’t mean our players should not shine,” stressed Choong Hann.
“Although there are many youngsters emerging from a country such as China in their home tournament, these are the opponents that our boys should be beating. We were expecting better results from them and the players should be aware of it.
“We will definitely be looking into that (reasons of poor showing) and work hard to do something about it.”
Choong Hann has demanded a swift response, especially from Joo Ven and June Wei, whose next assignment is the Asian Mixed Team Championship in Hong Kong next week.
Either one of them will be called upon to lead the team in the men’s singles, which normally serves as the first tie.
Asked if he expects them to bounce back, Choong Hann said: “They have to, they just have to. It’s a challenge that they should embrace. There’s no way to avoid learning to cope with the expectations.”
While Joo Ven and Co failed to impress, former international Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin edged closer to his first win since leaving the national team last November.
The 27-year-old, who shocked top seed Ihsan Maulana Mustofa of Indonesia in the last 16, defeated Yang Chih-chieh of Taiwan 13-21, 21-9, 21-12 to book his spot in the men’s singles semi-finals.
He faces Liu Haichao of China today but vows to keep the Malaysian flag flying high.
This week could be the turning point for Iskandar as he has struggled since the start of the year and currently is lying at the 125th in the the world rankings.
He failed to make the main draw of the Malaysian Masters, Indonesian Masters and German Open and lost in the first round of the Spanish Masters.
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