PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has made many changes in its badminton coaching set-up but only one has raised the eyebrows of Japan’s head coach Park Joo-bong – the appointment of Flandi Limpele (pic) as the men’s doubles head coach. Last month, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann revealed his new team, which included Flandi and former international Chan Chong Ming as the new faces.
Flandi replaced Paulus Firman, who was moved to helm the mixed doubles department while Chong Ming was named as the women’s doubles head.
Hendrawan remained as the men’s singles chief while Indra Wijaya was given the mandate to lead the women’s singles.
If all goes well, Flandi, who won a bronze with Eng Hian at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, is expected to report for duty on June 15.
Joo-bong feels Flandi has not proven himself as a coach and his real test will be with Malaysia.
“It’s an interesting choice indeed. Flandi was in Japan with the Hitachi club for some time but none of the doubles players from this club made it to our national team, ” said Joo-bong.
“One of Flandi’s doubles pairs are in Japan’s back-up squad but they are ranked the lowest in the team.
“Flandi was also in India with the men’s doubles team before but their top pair (Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty) had already made it to the top 10 before he arrived.
“I believe Malaysia’s Tan Kim Her was the man behind the rise of that Indian pair before Flandi arrived.
“However, I know Flandi is a hard working coach and he did his part to maintain the standard of the Indian doubles players. This kind of determination can take a coach far in his career.”
One of Flandi’s main tasks in Malaysia will be to turn world No. 9 Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik into winners in the world stage. The duo did well to reach the All-England final last year and the World Championships quarter-finals in Nanjing, China, in 2018, but they have yet to win a major title.
They are seen as potential medal winners at next year’s Olympic Games from July 23-Aug 8 in Tokyo.
“Paulus has done a good job to raise Aaron and Wooi Yik to be one of the top 10 pairs in the world. I guess, Flandi’s job now is to make them winners, that will be his real test, ” said Joo-bong.
“Aaron-Wooi Yik are a gifted pair and have given a good challenge to all the top pairs in the world. All they need is that extra edge to become champions.”
Joo-bong is also delighted to see the Choong Hann’s leadership in the national team.
“Choong Hann has taken the opportunity to change the coaches following the delay of the Olympics. I’m happy to see that he has been given more freedom to strengthen the team, that’s good, ” added Joo-bong,
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