PETALING JAYA: A lot is at stake for the singles shuttlers in the Project 2010-2012 squad in Sukma (Malaysia Games).
The stars of the Under-23 competition, which begins in Alor Star on May 28, will be selected for major Open tournaments but the under-achievers may find themselves axed from the squad.
By using Sukma as one of the final platforms to review the players' performances, coach Rashid Sidek expects his charges to put up a good show.
“I have given the permission to the boys to start their centralised training with their respective states, beginning tomorrow (Monday),” said Rashid.
“There are high expectations on them to do well in Sukma. The finalists and those who create upsets will be selected for two upcoming major tournaments – Singapore Open (June 5-11) and Malaysian Open (June 13-18). This is an incentive for them.
“Sukma is also one of the tournaments for me to evaluate the players. Those who perform poorly or lose tamely to other state players may not be considered good enough to be in the team.”
Except for Law Yew Thien, who crashed out in the semi-finals to Mohd Hazwan Jamaluddin at the last Sukma in Negri Sembilan years ago, all the others in the squad will compete in Alor Star.
Hazwan, who went down tamely to Kedahan Kuan Beng Hong in the final of the 2004 Sukma, will be out to go one step better.
The others from the Project squad who will be competing in the Kedah Sukma are Lim Kenn, Liew Daren, Tan Chun Seang, Mohd Shafiq Jamaluddin, Azrihanif Azahar, Beryno Wong , Chong Wei Feng, Hew Loon, Chong Li Qun, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, Lok Chong Chieh, Lim Fang Yang, Vountus Indra Mawan, Kuan Kam Chung, Zairul Hafiz Zainudin, Teo Kok Siang and Chan Kwong Beng.
Of all his charges, Rashid felt that Liew Daren, Lim Kenn and Chun Seang are the frontrunners for the boys' singles title.
“These players have been in good form in training. Hazwan may be the runner-up but he will find it tough to live up to his tag this time. His form had not been impressive in training,” said Rashid.
Rashid added that he would also be on a look out for new talent.
“If we spot players with talent, we will give them a chance to undergo a three-month trial with my squad,” he said.
“And state players who beat any of my charges will get an immediate call-up to train with my team.”
After delaying for many times, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will finally conduct a review of the Project squad after the Malaysian Open.
The squad, gearing up for the 2010 Asian Games and 2012 Olympic Games, was formed in March last year.
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