KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk James Selvaraj holds one of the most influential positions in the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) as the high performance director.
But he has hardly played a significant role since taking charge last September.
Is something amiss here?
Over the last nine months, since his appointment as the part-time high performance director, he has diligently attended all the coaches’ meetings, players’ training sessions and the coaching and training committee meetings.
But he has hardly made any key decisions or proposals as far as the coaches and players are concerned.
It could be because he prefers to live a low-key life in a high-profile sport like badminton or he could be restricted in some ways from discharging his responsibilities as the person tasked with charting the direction of Malaysian badminton.
Or it could even be that there may be limitations to what he can do due to his part-time status.
Whatever the reason, it does seem quite awkward when James, the high performance director, is unaware of some of the decisions made concerning the athletes and coaches.
When contacted recently to seek the status of two elite national shuttlers – Tan Chun Seang and Julia Wong – James, a former Thomas Cupper, said he had no knowledge nor inkling that these players had handed in their official resignation letters to BAM.
James also knew that Chun Seang was missing from training but did not pursue the matter, thinking that the shuttler was recuperating from his injuries.
To be fair, the BAM had planned to inform him of Chun Seang and Julia’s resignations at the next coaching and training committee meeting on June 30.
There are signs of a lack of communication among the decision-makers but none dare to admit it.
James said that he did not know about the elite players’ departures.
“I am the high performance director but no one told me anything about it. In fact, I usually find out about some of the decisions during the meetings. For now, I’d rather reserve my comments,” said James, who was also unaware of the decision to promote Chinase coach Chi Shanrong from the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) to the women’s elite squad.
BAM coaching and training committee chairman Ng Chin Chai, who is also the secretary, acknowledged that James faced some restrictions with regard to his job because of his part-time status.
“So far, everyone has been doing what they are supposed to do. James has attended all the meetings when we finalised the teams for major events,” said Chin Chai.
“James is a part-time official ... just like me. He is unable to be at the training ground all the time. The office staff have to deal with some of the daily matters. We have the right process in place and decisions are made during the coaching and training meetings.”
Chin Chai, who was appointed by BAM president Datuk Nadzmi Mohd Salleh to strengthen the coaching and training set-up last year, hoped that there would not be any efforts to instigate or cause problems that could disrupt the ongoing activities of the association.