KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 – The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will have to seriously look at Malaysia’s disappointing results at the recent three tournaments in Bangkok – the Yonex Thailand Open, the Toyota Thailand Open and the season-ending HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020.
Both the Thailand Open tournaments offered USD1 million in prize money while the purse for the World Tour Finals was USD1.5 million.
Malaysia’s best was reaching the finals in the men’s doubles. Professionals Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong made the final in the Yonex Thailand Open while Malaysia’s number one pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik in the Toyota Thailand Open.
V Shem (left) and Wee Kiong lost in the finals at Yonex Thailand Open.
In each final, the Malaysians were at the receiving end at the hands of Lee Yang-Wang Chi Lin of Chinese Taipei who also went on to clinch the title in the world tour finals and complete a grand hattrick in Bangkok.
As usual, it is the normal excuse we get from the Malaysians  – that they are still learning from their mistakes and gave their best in the tournament.
”I will be better prepared in the next tournament,” is another norm as a reply to questions posed by the media.
With time against them before Olympic qualifying tournaments get underway, the BAM coaching staff will have to get cracking as the writing is on the wall that Malaysian shuttlers need a psychologist’s help to build up their confidence.
Much hope was placed on national number one singles Lee Zii Jia but was a complete flop and although he did show glimpses of his capability in his matches, overall he was listless. His fitness also leaves a big question mark.
Zii Jia

Zii Jia, you need solid mental strength and attitude plus character with a commitment to survive in the tough badminton world. Sadly, Zii Jia, you lack these ingredients if you harbor to be in the same mould of Malaysia’s legendary Datuk Lee Chong Wei.

Chong Wei may have not won the Olympic gold but his silver medals in Beijing (2008) London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016) speaks of the former World No 1 who was much-feared on the court for his tremendous fighting spirit. He also had the DESIRE to win matches.
Zii Jia, at the age of 22, it cannot be said ”age is on your side” when others are winning titles in the competitive world of badminton.
The Kedah-born Zii Jia is touted as a medal hope in the Tokyo Olympics but before that, he has his work cut out and has to start winning tournaments in the qualifiers.
Last but not least badminton coaches cannot be blamed for the shortcomings of the players on the court if they (players) are a flop in matches.
The BAM coaching director Wong Choong Hann has a mammoth task on his hands after the below-par performance in Bangkok.
For the record, Choong Hann was not in Bangkok as he was tested positive for Covid-19 and had to be quarantined at home on the eve of the team’s departure.
In the World Tour Finals, Malaysia had two pairs in the semi-finals – the women’s doubles Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie. However, both fell to their opponents from Korea in the last four.
Mei Kuan (left) and Meng Yean reached the semifinals at HSBC BWF World Tour Finals.

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