KUALA LUMPUR: Former national doubles specialist Tan Boon Heong is on a mission to unearth world and Olympic badminton champions.
The 32-year-old former world No. 1 has gone big by setting up not one but six Tan Boon Heong (TBH) Academy to provide youngsters from the ages between 7-15 to train and dream of becoming champions.
Yesterday, he launched one of his academies at the Ace Sports World in Kepong Village. His other academies are located in Puchong, Kota Damansara, Subang, Petaling Jaya and Sungai Buloh.
A total of 200 juniors have signed up and the six training centres can accommodate up to 500.
There are 17 coaches with the most notable one being former world No. 11 doubles player Lim Khim Wah.
Boon Heong, who won the 2016 Asian Games gold medal with Koo Kien Keat and ruled the world of badminton in 2007, said discipline would be the key at his academies.
“I don’t want people to complain that my players have discipline problems. So, I will make sure our coaches work hard to keep our players in line, ” said Boon Heong.
“Discipline is the key to success. I want to bring my experience to the youths of this generation.
“As a player, I’ve not won a world or an Olympic title.
“So, it’s my hope to train and produce future champions in this major events.”
Boon Heong said he would juggle between his role as a professional player and overseer of the academies.
The 32-year old is still active on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour as an independent player.
He is currently ranked 71st with Shia Chun Kang.
They were the champions at the Perth International and runners-up at the South Australia and Dubai International Challenge this year.
“I’ve achieved much in my badminton career and I’m still playing but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to share my knowledge with the youngsters, ” added Boon Heong.
“I’ll meet the coaches every month to support them. I’ll join in to train the players whenever I”m not competing.”
Boon Heong said the plan was to encourage his players to attend the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) selection trials when they are ready.
“This will give them the opportunity to win a place in the national team, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Boon Heong also congratulated youngsters Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik for winning the SEA Games men’s doubles gold medal in the Philippines last week.
Boon Heong was pleased that they took their chances well in the absence of Indonesia’s world No. 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and world No. 2 Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan.
“They are champions, that’s good enough. This will give them the confidence and I hope they will build on it from here, ” said Boon Heong.
“This win alone is not enough though, they must keep on striving for bigger goals.”
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