PETALING JAYA: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to unearth the next Lee Chong Wei.
While the main focus is currently on the ‘fourth generation’ of singles shuttlers in Lee Zii Jia, Cheam June Wei and Leong Jun Hao, BAM will not overlook the younger batch currently under chief coach Datuk Misbun Sidek.
Coaching director Wong Choong Hann is particularly pleased with the development of three under-19 prospects – Ng Tze Yong, Lim Chong King and Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin (pic).
The trio have been training with the seniors for nearly six months since their promotion in January. Tze Yong and Aidil were the quarter-finalists at last year’s World Junior Championships in Canada.
And Choong Hann will unleash these players in six to eight satellite tournaments over the second half of this year.
“Chong King, Aidil and Tze Yong have shown very good attitude in training. They have a strong desire to improve and are willing to go the extra mile,” said Choong Hann.
“They are showing the seniors that it takes hard work to stay competitive. This serves as a good reminder to everyone that BAM will only keep the best player, not based on seniority but meritocracy.
“These three boys have earned their right to be sent out to compete. They will get to play in the International Challenge or International Series tournaments and we are keen to see how they fare.”
If all goes according to plan, Choong Hann expects the trio to start delivering by the end of 2020.
“We’re hoping to see them making the final regularly and perhaps win some tournaments by then,” added Choong Hann.
The other men’s singles shuttlers in the national set-up are Soong Joo Ven, Lim Chi Wing, Muhd Ziyad Tah and Tan Jia Wei.
And if there is one player whose days are numbered, it will be Chi Wing. Joo Ven is doing enough to keep his place while two-time national champion Chi Wing has yet to impress and is currently ranked No. 157 in the world.
“Chi Wing is in the ‘yellow zone’. We are giving him until the end of the year to prove his worth.”
There have been three generation of shuttlers who have failed to succeed Chong Wei.
Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng, Tan Chun Seang and Chan Kwong Beng were part of the first batch; followed by Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Zulfadli Zulkiffli in the second while the third comprise the likes of Joo Ven, Chi Wing, Soo Teck Zhi and Chong Yee Han.