PETALING JAYA: Men’s singles shuttler Soong Joo Ven’s (pic) worst fear has come true. The 24-year-old was among seven players deemed not good enough as Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) unveiled their Project ’24 squad on Friday.
Joo Ven accepted the verdict but he could not help but to feel hard done by his exclusion.
Joo Ven was adamant that he is still among the best in the men’s singles department, given the progress he made since September 2018 before he picked up a hamstring injury.
After finishing runner-up at the Hyderabad Open, his first World Tour final in September 2018, Joo Ven went on to emerge as the national champion in March and won the Malaysian International Series in June last year. But then came the untimely injury.
“I was surprised that BAM decided to let me go, ” said the world No. 60 shuttler.
“They made the assessment based on my KPI for the year (2019) but I wonder if they did acknowledge that I was injured for two months last year.
“I don’t think I was given enough tournaments to achieve my KPI. I had only 13 tournaments last year whereas my teammates played between 17 and 20 events.
“But it’s all in the past now, I do not want to dwell on it, ” added the 2016 Scottish Open Grand Prix runner-up,
Besides Joo Ven, also dropped were Tan Jia Wei, Mohd Ziyad Tah, men’s doubles pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and women’s doubles players Payee Lim Peiy Yee-Lim Chiew Sien.
The impending exit of the likes of Joo Ven and Ee Yi from the national team marked yet another failure of BAM to turn promising young talents into world-beaters.
Joo Ven was the boys’ singles runner-up to Japan’s Kento Momota, the current world No. 1, at the 2012 Asian Junior Championships in South Korea while Ee Yi, 26, claimed the boys’ doubles title with Nelson Heg at the 2011 World Junior Championships in Taiwan.
The duo joined the long list of once top junior shuttlers who failed to fulfil their potential including Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin (2009 World Junior Champion-ships runner-up); Soo Teck Zhi (2013 Asian Junior champion); Mak Hee Chun-Teo Kok Siang (2008 world and Asian junior champions); and Ow Yao Han-Chooi Kah Ming (2009 world junior champions).
When asked what could have gone wrong in his four years with the senior team, Joo Ven explained: “I feel like I’m slowly getting there. I just wish I could climb the ranks faster.
“I don’t know if it was just me or it’s the problem that lies in the entire national set-up coaching and training system.
“But historically, we have so many shuttlers that excelled as juniors but somehow got ‘lost’ during their transition to senior level. Perhaps, that’s a question for BAM to answer.”
Joo Ven is ready to open a new chapter in his career as an independent shuttler.
His immediate priority is to secure sponsorship fast so that he can get cracking after leaving the national team on Jan 31.
“I intend to continue playing as long as I can. I want to prove that I can also succeed as an independent player, ” he said.
“There’s many goals left to pursue.
“Beside chasing my Olympics dream, I hope to play in the top-tier World Tour events regularly and eventually win a title or two.”
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