THERE’s no magic wand to be waved to transform the standard of Malaysian men’s singles shuttlers. It will take a lot of hard work.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) secretary Datuk Kenny Goh acknowledges that the men’s singles department is struggling but promised that work has already started to add depth in coaching and training.
On Thursday, Malaysia collapsed 1-3 to South Korea in the opening round of the men’s team event in the Asian Games, mainly due to the defeat of singles shuttlers Lee Zii Jia (world No. 16) and Ng Tze Yong (18).
The country’s top two players were not the best versions of themselves as they went down to Jeon Hyeok-jin (47) and Lee Yun-gyu (119) respectively.
Former world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik did revive some hope by beating reigning world champions Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae but independent shuttlers Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi were unable to keep Malaysia’s challenge alive after going down to the scratch pair of Kim Won-ho-Na Sung-seung.
Kenny said they had spent much time talking to all coaches in the singles department - Hendrawan, James Chua, Tey Seu Bock and K. Yogendran – and identified several shortcomings that were currently being addressed.
“Badminton is not a magic show. The players will not immediately improve when we tweak their training programme but these tweaks are needed to ensure the players will improve progressively,” said Kenny.
One of the main changes is in finding the right template to build the players’ physical condition.
“Players need to be strengthened physically – both body mass and strength – to keep up with the others,” he said.
“The sports science support team and coaches need to come up with specific programmes for each player to achieve the targets.”
Kenny also believes in joint training sessions between seniors and juniors to fasttrack progress.
“The juniors and the seniors will have more training sessions together. And the intensity and training load of every singles players will also be increased moderately.
Zii Jia and Tze Yong will get a chance to make amends in the individual event from Oct 2-7 but Kenny knows there is no quick fix.
There has to be a programme good enough for players to churn out consistent results on the international stage.