KUALA LUMPUR: National back-up doubles players will have to start winning satellite titles if they want to play in higher-ranked international tournaments.
National doubles chief coach Yap Kim Hock said yesterday that the back-up players would have to earn the right to play in Open tournaments on the international badminton circuit.
Last year, Jeremy Gan-Gan Teik Chai were the only ones to win a tournament – the Asian Satellite Championships in Mumbai in August. Satellite championships are not star-rated tournaments but they offer meagre world ranking points.
“It is rare for us to see Malaysians winning even a satellite tournament. But from this year, the players have to start winning titles,” said Kim Hock.
“They will not get to play in Open tournaments if they do not prove their worth in satellite tournaments. The target for the back-up players is to win titles on the satellite circuit.”
The back-up pairs in the national team are world junior runners-up Jack Koh-Tan Bin Shen, Asian junior champions Ong Soon Hock-Koo Kien Keat, Teik Chai-Woon Lin Fui and Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari.
None of the pairs have been included in the team for the one-star US$30,000 Thailand Open, which will be played in Bangkok from Jan 8-12.
Kim Hock added that the players needed to take up the challenges and strive to become the best.
“They must understand that nothing comes easy. If they want to represent Malaysia in major tournaments, they have to start winning at the lower level,” he said.
“If they do well, they will get to play in the one or two-star tournaments. And if they prove themselves here, they will get to play in the more competitive and prestigious tournaments, among them the All-England.”
Kim Hock said that he would announce the first assignments of the year for the back-up players after the Asian Badminton Confederation (ABC) release the calendar.
The seniors – Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng, Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and Hong Chieng Hun-Chang Kim Wai- have been named for the All-England (Feb 12-16) and Swiss Open (19-23).
Tan Fook-Wan Wah will also compete in the Thailand Open, which is their first international tournament together after the Thomas Cup Finals in Guangzhou last May.