KUALA LUMPUR: Coach Rashid Sidek (pic) hopes that the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) can grant him two wishes in his plans for his Project 2010-12 squad next year.
He wants the national back-up players to be considered for the SEA Games in Thailand next December. And he also hopes that his charges will get to spar with the seniors on a regular basis.
Rashid said that his main goal was to get the second echelon of players narrow the gap in standard with the seniors.
“I have been coaching the team for more than a year now. It is time to give them a challenging task. The SEA Games will be an ideal platform for them to start winning honours for the country,” said Rashid.
Malaysia have always relied on a senior side to carry the challenges in the biennial Games, which is considered the lowest tournament among the majors for the badminton players.
“We should start to give the second stringers the chance to represent Malaysia in the SEA Games. It will prepare them for the more challenging ones ahead,” said Rashid.
“It will also motivate the back-up shuttlers to outdo each other in the fight to win places to represent the country. It will be a good incentive.”
For the last few months, the seniors have had their training base in Bukit Jalil while the back-up squad are still at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara.
Despite the many promises, joint training sessions for the seniors and back-up players have yet to take place.
“The joint training session is crucial. If both sides do not come together, the gap of standard will always exist and the progress of the youngsters is always retarded,” said Rashid.
“Thus far, only our doubles players had trained with the seniors on several occasions because coach Rexy (Mainaky) wanted it. The singles players hardly got the chance.
“All I'm asking for is joint training sessions or match practices at least once a week or even once every fortnight. This practice will bring great benefit to our players and I hope that the BAM will make it happen this time.”
On the performances of his charges this year, Rashid said that he was quite satisfied.
“There has been improvement in the quality of their game. Some of the players had won satellite tournaments. But we hope to see their participation in more competitive tournaments next year,” he said.
Lim Kenn emerged as the Sri Lanka Satellite champion while women's singles player Julia Wong bagged two titles at the satellites in Singapore and Indonesia.
“The players may not get to compete in the next year's Super Series because of their low rankings but I hope to get the BAM's approval to send them to second-rung tournaments on the BWF (Badminton World Federation) calendar,” said Rashid.
Plans for the Project squad will be on the agenda of the BAM Council meeting in Johor on Dec 30.
THE PROJECT 2010-12 SQUAD
Men's singles: Chong Wei Feng, Tan Chun Seang, Azrihanif Azahar, Lim Kenn, Mohd Syafiq Jamaluddin, Liew Daren, Chong Li Qun, Beryno Wong.
Men's doubles: Au Kok Leong, Khoo Chung Chiat, Goh Ying Jin, Hoon Thien How, Tan Boon Heong, Mohd Razif Latif, Mohd Razif Abdul Rahman, Chan Peng Soon, Chang Han Pin.
Women's singles: Norsyahliza Baharum, Daphne Ng, Julia Wong, Anita Raj Kaur.
Women's doubles: Daphe Ng Chiew Yen, Haw Chiou Hwee, Chong Sook Chin, Tan Sin Lan, Lim Yin Loo.