FORMER two-time national women’s singles champion Ng Mee Fen believes that the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have erred in their decision to skip the women’s team event yet again in the Asian Games.
Women will only play in the individual event for the second Asiad in a row after also doing the same at the Jakarta Games in 2018.
“I’m surprised that the women will not be playing in the team event,” said Mee Fen.
“If we always perceive that our women are not good enough and are not given the opportunity to compete in a big tournament, how are they going to learn and improve?
“I feel it’s not fair for the players as they have worked so hard but they don’t get the right exposure.
“This is the problem that we have.”
Mee Fen is concerned with the lack of improvement in the women’s department.
“In the singles, we have Goh Jin Wei but she is independent. In BAM, we have K. Letshanaa, who is currently ranked No. 59 in the world but if we want her to catch up with the top players in the world, she needs to be given the right exposure,” she said. “In the doubles, we have Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah but who do we have after them?
“We don’t have enough players as back up.
“The team event would have been a good exposure as well for the younger pair Valeree Siow-Go Pei Kee.
“The players will only learn where they are lacking when they play against the best.”
Mee Fen stressed that confidence was very important in women shuttlers.
“Since my time, Malaysian women singles players were perceived as weak,” said Mee Fen.
“The players will only gain confidence if they are given the trust and afforded the same opportunities as the male players.
“If Letshanaa can take Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi or Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying to three games, it will give her huge confidence.
“She will never know if she can do so or not if she is not given enough opportunities to compete in big tournaments.”
Mee Fen, who was a junior coach in the national team for four years, hopes the women’s singles will improve under coach K. Yogendran.
“Yogendran is a friend of mine and I believe he can do a good job in guiding the players,” said Mee Fen.
“But he must be given time and opportunities to develop the players as they are still young.”