Court the big names

  • Badminton
  • Saturday, 21 Sep 2019

Bonding time: National players Goh Jin Wei (left) and Cheam June Wei sharing their experiences with the kids from Heavenly Child Home after the opening ceremony of Let’s Badminton at Taiwan Excellence 2019 at 1Utama Shopping Centre yesterday. — AZMAN GHANI/ The Star

PETALING JAYA: The door is still open for Malaysia to hire high-profile foreign badminton coaches.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) secretary Datuk Kenny Goh said they were still keeping their options open in a bid to strengthen their new Project ‘24.

He said the BAM may emulate their rivals by “doing things differently.”

“For the first time, China hired foreign coaches while India have also brought in Korean coaches, ” said Kenny, who is also the coaching and training committee (CNT) chairman.

“I think we also need to do things differently. I believe we cannot be doing the same thing year in and year out and expect different results.”

Kenny was referring to China’s willingness to break tradition by roping in former South Korean doubles aces — Kang Kyung-jin and Yoo Yong-sung — as their first-ever foreign coaches recently.

The Chinese BA have also brought back Li Mao to their stable in a drastic move taken swiftly in the wake of their worst-ever performance at last month’s World Championships in Basel.

Both Li Mao and Yong-sung have served as coaches with the BAM previously.

Li Mao was best known for guiding Lee Chong Wei during his five-year stint from 2005 where the latter showed marked improvement in his skills and tactical game, while Yong-sung’s brief stint lasted only six months in 2012.

India’s investment in a foreign coach has also paid off big time when P.V. Sindhu became the nation’s first-ever world champion under the tutelage of former Asian Games gold medallist Kim Ji-hyun, who was hired early this year.

Indonesian trio Hendrawan, Indra Wijaya and Paulus Firman are the only foreign coaches in the existing 12-member BAM coaching team.

The proposed Project ‘24, which is aimed at winning Malaysia’s first Olympic gold and reaching the Thomas Cup final, is divided into three teams – men, women and mixed doubles – headed by Datuk Misbun Sidek, Datuk Tey Seu Bock and Chin Ee Hui respectively.

The project drew flak from several former badminton legends such as Rashid Sidek and Datuk Razif Sidek, who wanted the BAM to start with a clean slate by dropping their long-serving coaches.

“Hiring new coaches isn’t a straightforward task. We’ve to make do with our coaches now but these coaches know they have to deliver. The first review will be done on Dec 31 this year, ” said Kenny after officiating the launch of “Let’s Badminton” with Taiwan Excellence at 1Utama Shopping Centre here yesterday.

The “Let’s Badminton” with Taiwan Excellence is a three-day event showcasing over 80 brands from Taiwan, including the national badminton team equipment sponsor Victor.

National shuttlers Goh Jin Wei and Cheam June Wei were also present to hand out racquets and shuttlecocks to underprivileged kids from the Heavenly Child Home and play friendly games with them on a specially-built court in the mall.

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