Flandi checks in – with Olympics medal hopes

KUALA LUMPUR: After 14 days in quarantine, Malaysia’s new men’s doubles coach Flandi Limpele started work – with a mission to turn world No. 9 pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik into Olympics medallists in Tokyo next year.

While he said he believed the pair could win a medal, the 46-year-old Indonesian was also quick to say he could not promise that they will come back with a medal.

Aaron-Wooi Yik, the 2019 All-England finalists, are likely to be Malaysia’s only representatives in the men’s doubles in Tokyo.

“I can’t guarantee this (a medal from Olympics),” said Flandi after clocking in for his first day of work at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) yesterday.

“Players can train the hardest, prepare their best but there’s always no guarantee. However, I will say Aaron and Wooi Yik have a fighting chance (for a medal).

“The only thing I can assure everyone is that I will do whatever it takes to help them because as a coach, I want them to succeed.

“Like in Indonesia, I know the expectations from badminton fans here are extremely high. Give me some time to prove myself, and please give the players your undivided support,” added Flandi, who himself had won bronze with Eng Hian at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Flandi takes over from compatriot Paulus Firman, who was reassigned to mixed doubles squad, and vowed to work closely with his assistants – Rosman Razak and Hoon Thien How – to raise the standard of the other pairs under their care.

“My focus will not be just on Aaron-Wooi Yik. We have a big squad of 21 players, considering that the two professional pairs (Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi) are also with us preparing for the Thomas Cup . All the players will get equal attention,” he stressed.

“There are plenty of tournaments and different tiers, so all will get their opportunity to impress. It is my intention to push the youngsters to the fore.

“The better these juniors become, the better it is for the seniors who will get better sparring quality. The team can grow together.”

Flandi has reiterated that he has no regrets leaving what he has built in India.

Flandi was instrumental in turning Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty into a world’s top 10 combination and hopes are also high on the Indians delivering their country’s first ever men’s doubles medal in Tokyo.

“I did feel sad leaving India. But I had to because my family could not adapt to the lifestyle there,” said Flandi.

“Malaysia is very near to Indonesia. They are currently in Jakarta. When the pandemic situation gets better, I plan to relocate them here.”

Flandi maintained that he accepted the offer from Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) only after leaving India, brushing off suggestions that he was pinched while working for his former employers.

“I did receive an offer to coach Malaysia previously, but it was not until after I left India that I seriously considered it,” he said.

The other men’s doubles shuttlers in the squad are Nur Izzudin Rumsani, Goh Sze Fei, Low Hang Yee, Ng Eng Cheong, Chia Wei Jie, Chang Yee Jun, Man Wei Chong, Choong Hon Jian, Tee Kai Wun, Lwi Sheng Hao, Yap Roy King, Ooi Jhy Dar, Ching Kai Feng, Loo Bing Kun and Nur Firdaus Azman.

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