PETALING JAYA: If all goes well, youngsters like Siti Nurshuhaini Azman (pic) are expected to join the senior team next year to beef up the depleted women’s singles squad.
Nurshuhaini, 17, is supposed to be roped in only in 2023 but time is not on the side of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) as they are desperate to bolster their women’s singles options for Project 2024.
Head coach Indra Wijaya is currently left with just four players to work with after two-time world junior champion Goh Jin Wei’s shock resignation on Monday.
Touted as a star in the making, the 21-year-old Jin Wei was forced into early retirement due to continuous health issues.
She is the third player to leave this year after current national No. 1 Soniia Cheah was released by BAM in February. In April, 2015 World Junior Championships silver medallist Lee Ying Ying also called it a day.
The four remaining shuttlers are S. Kisona, Eoon Qi Xuan, K. Letshanaa and Myisha Khairul.
“What we have right now is far from ideal. We need around six to eight players,” said Indra.
“We definitely want to strengthen the squad, at least with quantity for a start.
“Like it or not, our women are out of depth and we will have to start from scratch for Project 2024.
“One of the best options is by promoting the juniors. The two coaching directors (Wong Choong Hann and Datuk Misbun Sidek) are working on a plan, so I’ll wait for the directives.”
Nurshuhaini, who has made the Uber Cup squad after making an impression at the recent internal ranking meet, should be in line for a promotion alongside several 18-year-olds such as Tan Zhing Yi and Khor Jing Wen.
Ong Xin Yee, 15, could also be in the radar as she has shown her potential by finishing third to Nurshuhaini and Zhing Yi in the junior rankings.
Meanwhile, Sabah’s Arena Satu Samin, a former national Under-16 champion, is arguably the best non-BAM player who deserves a shot with the national team.
However, she has declined to join the BAM.