PETALING JAYA: The national badminton team can finally afford a long break – but it’s one that they are not looking forward to.
All 14 players and six coaches returning from All-England have been instructed to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The first batch of 11 players and three coaches have been isolated in one designated floor at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) upon arriving from Birmingham on Sunday.
They have to stay in their rooms – two to a room – and get their food delivered to them. And they are only allowed to leave their rooms twice a day to get their temperatures checked at the common area. However, they can speak to friends and family over the phone.
Those involved include men’s doubles shuttlers Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin Rumsani; Soniia Cheah (women’s singles); Chow Mei Kuan, Lee Meng Yean, Vivian Hoo and Yap Cheng Wen (women’s doubles); Goh Soon Huat, Shevon Lai Jemie, Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing (mixed doubles).
The three coaches are Datuk Tey Seu Bock (women’s singles); Rosman Razak (women’s doubles) and Chin Ee Hui (mixed doubles).
Men’s singles player Lee Zii Jia and the men’s doubles pair of Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, who reached the semi-finals and quarter-finals respectively, were taken straight to the ABM as soon as they arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday.
Also with the group were coaching director Wong Choong Hann, men’s singles coach Hendrawan and men’s doubles coach Paulus Firman.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are acting on recommendations made by authorities, including Health Ministry and Youth and Sports Ministry.
It’s very inconvenient but it’s the right move, considering that England is among the hardest-hit nations in Europe by the deadly outbreak.
Some of the players were in Europe for nearly a month as they also competed in the Spain Masters before moving to France to be based there prior to the All-England.
This was due to the eleventh hour cancellation of the German Open.
Vivian said the two-week break was probably the longest rest she has ever taken in her career.
“There will be no training for the 14 days. I don’t ever remember when was the last time we had the luxury of such a long break, ” said Vivian.
“We have to confine ourselves to our rooms and only go out to have our body temperatures checked twice a day.
“It’s just the second day and it feels like forever. It’s so boring.
“But for the sake of everyone’s health, we have to bear with it.
“I’m killing my time by playing some mobile games and streaming movie and music.”
Shevon said she “welcomes” the much-needed break following a hectic Olympic qualification period.
“It’s almost like a long retreat for us to refresh... unfortunately, in a very different way, ” she quipped.
“It’s no fun to be confined to one place.
“On a brighter note, I finally have all the time in the world to do some reading. I have been wanting to read self-improvement and spiritual books.”
The four independent shuttlers – mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and men’s doubles pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi – are expected to follow suit.
Liu Ying, when contacted, who also arrived yesterday confirmed that she would quarantine herself.
“The ministry had asked us to do so. But it’s okay as we have no more tournament at least until June, ” she said.
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