KUALA LUMPUR: In an unprecedented move, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have named Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Hoon Thien How as replacements for former national pair Gan Teik Chai-Tan Bin Shen for the world championships even though the latter had qualified on merit.
The Apacs and KLRC-sponsored Teik Chai-Bin Shen accepted the decision but felt that the BAM should consider giving them some form of compensation for dropping them from the championships, which will be held in London from Aug 8-14.
It is the first time that BAM have made such decision as previously, they stood by those who qualified on merit.
The BAM secretary, Ng Chin Chai, said yesterday that they named the world No. 27, Zakry-Thien How, based on current form even though the pair did not make the cut when the qualifying period ended two weeks ago.
A country can have a maximum of three pairs if all of them are ranked among the top 24. But Malaysia had two pairs in the bracket – Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (No. 4) and Teik Chai-Bin Shen (No. 16).
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) gave all their members a time frame of two weeks, which ended yesterday, to finalise the names of the qualifiers, taking into consideration that some, who have booked the tickets earlier, could have been injured, retired or suffered a drop in form.
The BAM confirmed that Kien Keat-Boon Heong and Zakry-Thien How would be their two pairs for the championships based on current form.
“The BAM are the controlling national body and we made the decision in the best interest of the nation,” said Chin Chai yesterday.
“We discussed this matter objectively in a meeting with our high performance director (Datuk James Selvaraj) and coaches (Rexy Mainaky and Tan Kim Her) yesterday. We felt that the inclusion of Zakry and Thien How was justified.
“In the last six months, Zakry-Thien How have achieved better results than Gan-Bin Shen and other national pairs to prove that they are currently the second best pair in the country.
“They reached the quarter-finals of two Super Series event – the Malaysia Open and All-England.”
In the men’s singles, the BAM gave the green light to former national player Wong Choong Hann, now a Dunlop-sponsored competitor, to join world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in the championships.
“Choong Hann qualified on merit by virtue of being the world number 16th player. We are sending him because the standard of other singles players are far from him,” said Chin Chai.
Teik Chai was disappointed but was resigned to the fact they could not challenge the decision of the national body.
“But what do we say to our sponsors? Our sponsors funded all our trips to tournaments. We repaid their faith in us by qualifying for the world meet,” he said.
“Now, the BAM are telling us that we cannot go. It feels unfair because the world meet had kept us going. They should have told us (about the possibility of not being selected) a year before we even started our journey to qualify.
“I hope the BAM will look into ways to compensate us. They should make up for our losses. We hope that they will be fair to us.”
Meanwhile, Chin Chai said that they had decided to name Tee Jing Yi as a replacement for Wong Mew Choo in the women’s singles. Mew Choo has retired from competitions and started her job as the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) coach.
The world championship-bound squad will spend 10 days at Bath University in England before heading for the world meet.