BAM: Rexy can ease Choong Hann’s workload and revitalise doubles department

PETALING JAYA: The rehiring of Indonesian doubles legend Rexy Mainaky will pave the way for coaching director Wong Choong Hann to switch his focus to the singles department and team’s strategic planning, says Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) secretary Datuk Kenny Goh.

The 53-year-old Rexy, who served as the national doubles coach from 2005-2012, has rejoined the BAM as the deputy coaching director on a two-year deal. He will report for duty on Dec 1.

Kenny does not think that Rexy’s appointment would cause any role confusion and redundancy between him and Choong Hann.

The move to bring in a high-profile coach like Rexy certainly raised a few eyebrows as such a position had never existed previously.

For instance, Morten Frost did not have a deputy during his two stints as the national team supremo from 1997-2000 and 2015-2017.

What’s more surprising was Rexy’s willingness to “settle for less” in his second stint with the BAM despite having served as the head honcho of the Indonesian and Thai national teams.

“Rexy knew exactly what he’s being hired for.

“It was stated in black and white,” replied Kenny when asked if Rexy would feel “awkward” about having to report to Choong Hann.

“We hope Rexy’s presence can immediately help us to revitalise the doubles departments and ease Choong Hann’s workload.

“Choong Hann can now focus more on the singles squad, which we have to admit still needs much work.

“We’re happy with his performance (since his appointment in 2018), but with Rexy now coming on board, Choong Hann can now play a bigger role in the strategic planning of the entire national squad.”

Only time will tell whether the reemployment of Rexy would work this time.

The BAM are known to have fallen short at major tournaments despite bringing back some of the ex-coaches.

Kenny said the BAM have been constantly in the hunt for good coaches to bolster the existing set-up further and signing Rexy was a win-win situation for both parties.

Rexy’s stint with Indonesia from 2013-2016 was a success after he helped his country to bounce back at the 2016 Rio Olympics with Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir nailing a gold in the mixed doubles. In London 2012, Indonesia had finished empty-handed.

In his latest stint with Thailand, Rexy has been credited for guiding their women’s team to a historic runners-up finish in the Uber Cup in Bangkok.

“All of us know that he’s a proven coach and comes with a wealth of experience and knowledge,” said Kenny.

“He had success with countries he was attached to and you just can’t disregard that. The experience he has accumulated has convinced us to consider bringing him back.

“And the fact that he had the desire to come back to settle down in Malaysia (Rexy and family hold permanent residence here) was a win-win situation for both parties.”

On the rationale of hiring another doubles expert for the coaching set-up barely 16 months after they had appointed Flandi Limpele as the men’s doubles head coach, Kenny explained: “I think it’s imperative that we work as a team. Flandi will still be very much at the helm of the men’s doubles department.

“Rexy’s arrival will add value to all the three doubles departments, not just the men’s doubles. After all, team work is crucial. We shouldn’t work in silos.”

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