PETALING JAYA: Doubles legend Datuk Razif Sidek has a win-win solution for the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and the Malaysian shuttlers.
He wants to see prize money offered to both the winners and losers of the internal tournament that BAM plan to host this month. The tournament will held under a format similar to the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals.
Such a move, he said, would not only motivate the players but would also be a big help for all those who have lost earning opportunities with the cancellation of local and international tournaments until September.
“Let’s do something special for the players during these trying times. Most of them are demotivated without tournaments, ” said Razif.
“I would not have suggested prize money for an internal tournament at any other time but right now, it may be a noble thing to do. Times are tough.
“The amount will be up to the national body. They have the money as they did not host any other Open tournaments anyway.
“Besides, by dangling the carrot, we will motivate the players and we can expect quality performances.”
BAM coaching director Wong Choong Hann announced last month that they would be hosting a competition involving their top and independent players such as Lee Zii Jia, Soong Joo Ven, Liew Daren, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong.
There are also women players Sonia Cheah, Goh Jin Wei, S. Kisona, Lee Ying Ying and doubles players Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean, Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen.
They may even bring in the mixed doubles players Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing to play in the men’s and women’s team events respectively.
In fact, the BAM are even considering broadcasting all the matches live in partnership with Astro.
Razif said the competition would be a timely preparation for the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark, from Oct 3-11. Barring any last minute changes, the Finals are expected to go on as scheduled.
“These internal match-ups will be a good platform to instill team camaraderie. Team unity and fighting spirit are the keys to achieving success in the Finals, ” he said.
Razif should know as he was the member of the team who last won the Thomas Cup in 1992 at Stadium Negara. He played at first doubles with his brother Jalani Sidek.
The others in the team then were Rashid Sidek, Foo Kok Keong, Kwan Yoke Meng, Cheah Soon Kit-Soo Beng Kiang, Rahman Sidek and Wong Ewee Mun.