Chun Seang gets another two-year ban for walking out on team

KUALA LUMPUR: National back-up men’s singles shuttler Tan Chun Seang has been slapped with a two-year ban – again – from competing in international tournaments for walking out on the national team.

The only difference this time is that the punishment only applies for tournaments in Asia.

In 2009, Chun Seang was banned from competing in all tournaments – both in Asia and Europe – for two years when he tendered in his resignation. He returned to the national fold three months later and the ban was immediately lifted.

While Chun Seang has had to pay a heavy price again, former national No. 1 women’s singles shuttler Julia Wong was let off the hook although she too quit the team recently.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have also come down hard on all non-BAM and independent players by making it compulsory for them to play in domestic tournaments. If they don’t, they will not be allowed to compete in international tournaments.

BAM coaching and training committee chairman Ng Chin Chai announced these decisions, which are subject to endorsement by the exco today, after a 2½-hour meeting yesterday.

He was, however, quick to add that these were not a blanket ruling and would be handled on a case by case basis.

Chin Chai said they were not trying to curtail or impose unwarranted restrictions on the independent players.

“Chun Seang and Julia tendered their resignations due to ligament and knee injuries respectively,” said Chin Chai.

“Julia has contributed a lot to the nation, having played in the Uber Cup, Sudirman Cup, World Championships, SEA Games, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games and also won honours for the country. As such, the committee proposed to let her leave without any penalty or suspension.

“But Chun Seang’s spate of injuries has prevented him from achieving good results. He has not represented the country in major events nor has he won any titles. Thus the committee’s proposal not to allow him to play in international tournaments in Asia for the next two years.

“We do not want any player to come and go as they like. There need to be clear guidelines.”

Having said that, Chin Chai said the BAM also did not want to pour sand on Chun Seang’s rice bowl.

“We decided to meet him half-way. He can compete in league or tournaments in Europe but not in Asia. We are not going to stop him from making money but we also need to safeguard our programme. The national agenda comes first,” said Chin Chai.

On the move to get the independent players to compete in local tournaments, he said: “The BAM currently endorse all their participation in international tournaments.

“From next year onwards, we will only allow them to compete if they support the domestic tournaments. All the states have agreed to this new rule.

“But we will be flexible. If some are genuinely unable to compete in local tournaments, we may make an exception for them.”

This is likely to result in a stronger cast at the Kedah Open, which will be held from July 13-16 in Alor Setar.

Chin Chai said that except for Wong Pei Tty, all the World Championships-bound players would compete in the Kedah Open.

“Her knee is acting up again and she needs to take painkillers before every match. She will go for treatment and be ready for the world meet,” he said.

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