KUALA LUMPUR: Doubles player Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari has certainly taken heed of a rap for indiscipline.
Two weeks after being reprimanded for bad behaviour in training, Fairuzizuan in his partnership with Lin Woon Fui have emerged as the best national back-up pair in the Badminton Association of Malaysia's (BAM) Elite Challenge.
They defeated the more consistent, Koo Kien Keat-Gan Teik Chai twice – in a Group B match and in the playoff for third place – to take over the top ranking.
Kien Keat-Teik Chai are now ranked second followed by Mohd Zakry Latif-Jack Koh; Ong Soon Hock-Tan Bin Shen; Ong Soon Chiang-Lok Chong Hong; and probationers Chin Chi Weng-Mohd Razif Latif.
National chief double coach Yap Kim Hock said that the 19-year-old Fairuzizuan's attitude to training had changed for the better.
“He now takes time to warm-up, he is very spirited and shows dedication and determination in training,” said Kim Hock.
“The final warning to buck up has certainly brought out the best in Fairuzizuan in the Elite Challenge. I hope Fairuzizuan and Lin Fui will continue to work hard to improve on their game.”
Kim Hock had mixed reactions to the performances of the top two senior pairs – Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng.
“Tan Fook-Wan Wan defeated Chong Ming-Choon Ming in the final. It is good because Chong Ming-Choon Eng cannot take their place for granted,” said Kim Hock.
“But I was a little concerned when Tan Fook-Wan Wah reserved their energy by not going all out in their group match against Chong Ming-Choon Eng.
“It was a good strategy but it still showed that they needed to improve on their physical conditions. But the tournament was good for both these pairs in their preparation for the World Championships (in Birmingham from July 28-Aug 3).”
At the last world championships in Seville in 2001, Tan Fook-Wan Wah and Chong Ming-Choon Eng were the semi-finalists.
Meanwhile, Kim Hock added that they needed to make a decision on the ranking of the third senior pair, Chang Kim Wai-Hong Chieng Hun.
Kim Wai suffered cramps and had to withdraw from the Challenge. Kim Hock is now contemplating on either to rank them higher or lower than Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui.