KUALA LUMPUR: Appoint a high performance director at the junior level to revive Malaysian badminton.
Malaysia are lagging far behind the rest of the top badminton nations like China, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Denmark, India and Taiwan.
Currently, only former national players Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying are ranked in the top 10 standing in the world at the fifth position.
Former international Datuk Razif Sidek believes the root of the problem is lack of focus in the country's junior programme.
Razif feels a high performance director for the junior programme at the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) will help fast track the progress in a systematic way.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are currently headed by national coaching director Wong Choong Hann, who oversees the elite and junior programme and monitors the five head coaches in the team.
Choong Hann is answerable to the national body's coaching and training committee headed by Datuk Ng Chin Chai.
Razif said it would be tough for Choong Hann to handle it all.
"It'll be great if there is another performance director at the junior level to support Choong Hann. Both have to work hand in hand," said Razif.
Razif said the junior programme do not see a proper transition of a young budding player to the senior team.
"The juniors need to get the best coaching. If they are good, they need to get immediate exposures at the higher level," said Razif.
"Our juniors need to train full time too. Currently, the best juniors are juggling between studies and sports.
"I hope a full-time performance director at the lower level will improve the quality of our juniors," added Razif.
It is also learnt that there are issues of favouritism and lack of transparency in selection of juniors for international tournaments.
The first intake in the BAM's junior programme are the Form One students but not all of them make the grade to the top. Some give up half way through leg injuries while others do not get the right motivation to persevere on.
In fact, sometimes, state players, who come through the BAM system at the later stage perform better than the BAM junior players, who started from the bottom ranks.
Malaysia have produced many Asian and world junior badminton champions - unfortunately, we do not see many staying on to become world beaters. This must change!
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