PETALING JAYA: Holding on to the world number one position without winning any world titles is meaningless, newly-appointed Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) high performance director Datuk James Selvaraj said today.
And he hopes that the country’s current world number ones – Lee Chong Wei and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong – will justify their tags by winning the singles and doubles titles at the World Badminton Championships, which will begin in Paris on Monday.
“I am tired of our players holding on to the world number one rankings without winning any major titles. Ranking alone is not enough. I want champions,” said James just hours after being officialy named to the hot seat.
“I hope these players will win in Paris. It will be a great present for me when I officially start my work (on Sept 1).”
Should they fail, James said it would be up to him to get down to serious business and produce world champions.
“I took up the job because I want to produce champions. I want world and Olympic champions. These are my goals,” said James, who will turn 60 in November.
James made his national team debut as a player in 1969 and won the national title three times. He also represented Malaysia in three Thomas Cup Finals before calling a day on his 13-year service for the country in 1982.
He became the national coach from 1983-1985 and, under him, Ong Beng Teong-Razif Sidek bagged the doubles gold at the 1984 Asian Games in India. Beng Teong-Razif also won the gold medal at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games.
James was also coaching the players when Razif-Jalani emerged as the 1982 All-England champion.
Work commitment then took him away from badminton but James, who is currently the senior manager with Bata Malaysia, never lost his love for the game.
In fact, he had been quite vocal on Malaysian badminton, questioning many of BAM’s decisions.
And now, he will be party to their decisions.
“I was in two minds when Datuk Nadzmi (Mohd Salleh) asked me to take up this post. I took it up because of national interest and my passion for the game,” he said.
“For a start, I will do this on a part-time basis. I also have my work commitment (with Bata).”
James said his immediate focus would be to work in tandem with the coaches and players. Six coaches will come directly under James. They are Rashid Sidek, Rexy Mainaky, Hendrawan, Tan Kim Her, Wong Tat Meng and Pang Cheh Chang.
James expects the coaches and players to be open to changes.
“At the end of the day, I will make a decision, after consulting the coaching and training committee, and I expect it to be adhered to,” he said.
On the lack of discipline among players and disrespect for their coaches, James said: “I would like to talk to the players. Sometimes, issues have been blown out of proportion.
“But to me, discipline and commitment are important. We will not be able to produce champions if they lack these qualities.”
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