BAM shuttlers’ fear factor reason for concern

PETALING JAYA: Fear factor is one of the pitfalls hampering the progress of shuttlers from moving forward.

In the recently concluded National Under-21 in Kuantan, several seeded players tumbled against state shuttlers, and national singles coach Hendrawan says some of them could not cope with the pressure that came with the fear of losing.

Top seed Ong Zhen Yi lost to Mohd Zakaria Mohd Ariffin Nazri of Selangor in the last 16 while second seed Chua Kim Sheng also went down to Selangor’s Ng In Qin, a joint ninth-16th player, in the same stage.

Eogene Ewe restored some order by beating In Qin in the final.

“Most of the BAM players who lost gave reason that they felt the pressure of losing. It’s not they lacked the skills or intelligence on the court. They just have to be brave on the court instead - whether they are playing a lower or higher ranked players,” said Hendrawan, who was in Kuantan with the players.

“This problem with their mindset is what we have to deal with.

He said these players however, do not show any sign of fear during training.

“We’ve had training with Anders Antonsen of Denmark and Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan but they are able to keep pace with them. In fact, these back-up players are even able to give our top players like Ng Tze Yong a good run,” he said.

“Unfortunately, when they come to a tournament proper, they say fear of losing adds unnecessary pressure on them.”

Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) administrative director Michelle Chai said they would continue to push their players by playing in local competitions.

“If they can’t handle the pressure at home, how are they going to make a mark at the international stage?” said Michelle.

“There were opinions that we should only give state players chance to play in the domestic tournaments but I believe that our national players should be there too.

"Perhaps not so much as a test of their badminton skills but as an opportunity for them to face their demons - how to handle the pressure when they are expected to win.

"For the state players, it was good opportunity for them to go up against national players..

Michelle too feels that Malaysian players lack the confidence.

“Siti Zulaika (Azmi) did well to reach the women’s singles final of the Sri Lanka International Series recently but when I commended her, she said she made it because of luck. Our players have low self-esteem.

“This has to change.”

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