No Denmark and French Opens for Kisona

PETALING JAYA: It was a no-go for women’s singles shuttler S. Kisona to the Denmark and French Opens despite being eligible for the two World Tour tournaments.

The 23-year-old did not travel with the team to Odense on Monday following the completion of the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark, and flew back to Malaysia instead.

Kisona could have made the top-32 women’s main draw of the Denmark Open, which started yesterday, following the last-minute withdrawals of Olympic champion Chen Yufei of China and world No. 11 Michelle Li of Canada as she was placed second on the reserve list.

For the French Open, Kisona had already qualified earlier on and was slated to take on world No. 8 An Se-young of South Korea in the first round.

However, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) decided that it would be better off for the world No. 53 to return to training in a bid regain her top condition before the World Championships in Huelva, Spain, from Dec 12-19.

The ill-prepared Kisona was struggling to impress and lost all the six matches she was fielded in both the Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup.

Although Kisona did turn in a memorable performance in her defeat to Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska during the Sudirman Cup, it was obvious that she was playing nowhere near her level best and that resulted in her getting beaten by unheralded players like Abigail Holden of England and Talia Ng of Canada.

She was also totally outclassed by her more illustrious opponents – Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi and Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt.

National coaching director Wong Choong Hann said it was a collective decision by him and women’s singles head coach Indra Wijaya to send Kisona home.

“Based on our assessments in the last two tournaments, especially after the Uber Cup, we can conclude that Kisona doesn’t have the ideal physical condition to compete in the upcoming tournaments,” said Choong Hann.

“While being outplayed by a higher-ranked Denmark opponent was something that we expected, we thought she could have really done better in the match against Canada. She fizzled out rather too fast.

“Due to her physical condition, we felt that it’s better to send her home to train. It’s not wise for her to follow the team on the tour until the end of the year because of the lack of facilities and time to train. The gyms are not fully equipped and we also have limited training hours.”

Choong Hann was quick to point out that the move to send Kisona back was not a form of punishment for her lacklustre performance.

“No, it’s not a punishment. I think we have to look at the bigger picture here. We all knew from the start that it’s going to be a struggle for Kisona as she didn’t have a good preparation compared to the rest in the team,” explained Choong Hann.

“She didn’t return to full training before the end of September due to viral fever. And before that, she was also down with Covid-19 and all these had taken a toll on her.

“The risk of getting injured is very high and the last thing we want is for her to be sidelined for months. We simply can’t afford that.

“Therefore, we want her to rejuvenate and return stronger for the world meet.”

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