PETALING JAYA: Independent shuttler Liew Daren is hopeful of getting a call-up for the Thomas Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark from Oct 3-11.
The two-time Thomas Cupper stole the show at the 2014 edition in New Delhi where he lost in the decisive third singles against Takuma Ueda for Japan that saw Malaysia losing 3-2 in final.
With the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) assuring yesterday that only the best available players will make the squad, the 32-year-old Daren believes he deserves a place as the current national No. 2.
“If BAM were to select the nation’s current best four to fill up the four singles spots, by right I should make the cut, ” said Daren.
“I don’t know if I will be considered for the selection, but I’d certainly love to play in the Thomas Cup.
“I can play in the second singles and still have a lot to offer. My presence will provide the depth and options in the team.”
Daren knows that ranking does not guarantee anything if the history is anything to go by.
Two years ago, he failed to make the squad to Bangkok Finals despite ranked second to Lee Chong Wei.
Not even a string a decent performances that saw him reach the back-to-back semi-finals at the Malaysian and Thailand Masters was enough to secure him one of the four singles berths.
Daren proved himself later the year by bagging the World Championships bronze in Nanjing, earning him a last-minute call-up to the Asian Games in Indonesia barely two weeks later.
“I’ve been the national No. 2 for the last two years, but I wasn’t called up for any team events except for the Asian Games, ” said Daren, who quit BAM in 2016.
“I was not selected for the Sudirman Cup and SEA Games last year, and recently the Asia Team Championships.
“I’m always ready to serve the nation, but I’m not sure about the selection criteria.
“In this coming Thomas Cup selection, I believe other professionals including (Soong) Joo Ven and Iskandar (Zulkarnain Zainuddin) should also be considered because technically they are the top five singles shuttlers in Malaysia too.”
Options are certainly lacking in the existing national men’s singles department.
Besides Zii Jia, Cheam June Wei and Jun Hao, the likes of Lim Chong King, Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin and Ng Tze Yong are still far from ready.
Did you find this article insightful?
82% readers found this article insightful