Waiting game leaves Japan coach Joo-bong all sweaty

  • Badminton
  • Friday, 05 Jun 2020

PETALING JAYA: Japan’s badminton players have yet to begin their centralised training and that has left national chief coach Park Joo-bong in a cold sweat.

The South Korean is hoping for the green light by middle of June.

“The lockdown has been lifted on May 26 but we’ve not started centralised training as we have a few issues, ” said Joo-bong

Like most of the other shuttlers, Japan’s team have not been training together under one roof since all tournaments were suspended after the All-England in Birmingham due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“All the players returned to their respective clubs. Now, it’s not easy to get them back together. There are many rules and guidelines that we’ve to follow.

“We’ve an issue with the booking of the training centre. Other sports have booked first. Now, we are looking at training in states but not all are ready to open their doors.

“Then, the clubs are also not ready to release their players to Tokyo. Generally, most parties are still being cautious and there is still fear over the coronavirus.”

Joo-bong’s concern is understandable as the badminton season is expected to resume in August if all goes well. Their first major tournament will be the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals from Oct 3-11 in Aarhus, Denmark.

“I’ll be happy if we can start the centralised training by end of June. It will be tough on the players if we start beyond that.”

The former doubles great is also waiting for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to relax the rule of making it mandatory for top players to play in top-level tournaments. A world No. 1 player like Kento Momota has to play in all the top Open tournaments or else he will be fined.

“The world body have revised the calendar and there are many back-to-back tournaments in September, October and November. They have to relax the player’s mandatory rule or scrap it, ” said Joo-Bong.

“Our top players can’t play in all competitions, so we’re waiting for a directive from the world body. Only then, can I plan the team schedule, ” said Joo-bong.

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