PETALING JAYA: None of the five recipients of the Eddy Choong Players of the Year Award thus far is a Malaysian. And doubles chief coach Yap Kim Hock feels that national shuttlers should draw inspiration from the Award and strive to win more honours for the country.
The International Badminton Federation (IBF) have named South Korean doubles maestro Kim Dong-moon as the winner of the 2002 Award.
The previous winners were Danish singles players Peter Gade-Christensen (1998) and Camilla Martin (1999), Indonesian doubles ace Candra Wijaya (2000) and Chinese women's doubles and mixed doubles specialist Gao Ling (2001).
The Award is named after Eddy, who was a dominant force in world badminton in the 50s and a winner of the seven All-England titles.
“We still have not produce a player outstanding enough to deserve the Award,” said Kim Hock.
“Even, during my playing days, Indonesian former number one pair Rexy Mainaky-Ricky Subagja and Candra-Sigit Budiarto won more titles than (Cheah) Soon Kit and I.
“Our players will have to be consistent and try to win as many titles as possible. The Award is named after a Malaysian and it will be great if one of our players can win it. It will certainly have a good reflection on the standard of badminton in our country.”
Kim Hock hopes that the Malaysian top doubles pair of Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng and the number one singles player Wong Choong Hann can improve and extend their domination in international tournaments this year.
“Chong Ming-Choon Eng is our best hope in the men's doubles. They won the Japan Open last year and came close of winning their second title at the China Open. Choong Hann is the top singles player and he won two titles last year (Dutch and China Opens). We hope they will win more titles this year,” he said.
Malaysia will be aiming to do well in the world Grand Prix circuit this year. Among the major tournaments are the All-England (Feb 12-16), Swiss Open (Feb 19-23), Japan Open (April 1-6), Korean Open (April 8-13), Singapore Open (June 18-22), Indonesian Open (June 24-29), Malaysian Open (July 2-6), Denmark Open (Sept 24-28) and China Open (Nov 5-9).
Two other important tournaments this year are the World Championships (May 12-18) and the Vietnam SEA Games (Dec 5-13).