Razif hasn’t lost his touch and is ready to serve BAM again

  • Badminton
  • Tuesday, 22 Oct 2019

Time to stop the rot: Datuk Razif Sidek has been critical about the sad state of affairs in Malaysian badminton for some time.

PETALING JAYA: Doubles legend Datuk Razif Sidek may have aged but he is willing to serve the nation again for the sake of Malaysian badminton.

The 57-year-old is willing to step in as the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) junior high- performance director if the national body want his service.

Last week, the BAM announced that they were in search of a supremo to revive their junior programme following Malaysia’s poor showing at this year’s World Junior Championships in Russia and Asian Junior Championships in China.

1992 Thomas Cup winner Razif has been critical about the sad state of affairs in Malaysian badminton for some time. In fact, he tried to help the national body out in 2014 as one of the assessors but his stint did not last long.

Razif admits it pains him to see how far Malaysian badminton has fallen behind and he wants to do his part to make the country’s game great again.

“I don’t know who BAM have in mind for the job, but I’ll never turn my back on them if they approach me,” said Razif, who enjoyed an illustrious career in the men’s doubles with brother Jalani in the 80s and 90s.

“I’m still very passionate about the sport and I want to contribute in anyway I can.”

He said it was mind boggling to see Malaysian juniors losing to nations once known as minnows in badminton.

“You know something has gone wrong when France won their first medal (through boys’ singles Christo Popov) and when we had our player losing to a Finland opponent at the recent world junior meet,” said Razif.

“It’s sad because we used to be one of the sport’s giants. When people talk about badminton, the world recognises Malaysia as among the best three alongside China and Indonesia.

“Now, Japan have surpassed us, even Thailand too.

“A big change is needed, right from the grassroots level, or we risk sinking into oblivion.”

Razif guided Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock to Malaysia’s first-ever Olympic silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games in his stint with the BAM as the national chief coach from 1994-1996.

Razif, a 1992 Barcelona Olympic bronze medal winner, believes he’s still very much relevant despite his long absence from any top-level coaching job.

“I’m still following the sport closely and keep myself updated. I also know the national junior scene well as I have been travelling nationwide to watch the local tournaments,” said Razif, whose son Mohd Fazriq is a player under the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) banner.

“There are many young talents but the BAM don’t know how to nurture them.

“I became the All-England champion at the age of 19 (in 1982). I know how important it is to instil the champion’s mentality in a player at a very young age.”

Another ex-international Ong Ewe Hock, who helped Malaysia finish thrice as runners-up in the Thomas Cup, said he was also open to rejoining the BAM but was quick to stress that whoever the national body hire should be given the full mandate to run the show.

“If BAM do approach me, I’ll definitely give it a thought and see if I can fit in. But the supremo should be allowed to call the shots without any interference,” added Ewe Hock, who was the country’s top singles shuttler before leaving the BAM in 2003.
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