KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 – The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has gone on a chopping spree after Malaysia’s poor show in the recent tournaments in Bangkok, Thailand – the Yonex Thailand Open and the Toyota Thailand, both Super 1000 tournaments and the season-ending HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020.
Malaysia’s top women’s singles Soniia Cheah headed the list which also included mixed doubles players Goh Soon Huat, Shevon Lai Jemie, Lai Pi Jing and women’s doubles player Vivian Hoo.
Vivian won the Commonwealth Games women’s doubles gold with Woon Khe Wei and the mixed team gold in Glasgow (2014) and the women’s doubles gold with Chow Mei Kuan in Gold Coast 2018.
It is another strong signal from the BAM that there is no room for non-performers but the axing of Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai has not gone down well with many of those who have been keeping track of the shuttle sport in the country.
Many called on the BAM to stop blaming the players for the current standard of Malaysian badminton and called for a shakeup of the management as well.
Following the post-mortem conducted after Malaysia’s performance in Bangkok, a detailed Key Performance Index (KPI) has been tabulated and subsequently provided the key to the review of the performance of the players.
Tan Kian Meng (mixed doubles) and Yap Cheng Wen (womens doubles) have been given a new opportunity to prove themselves with ”stern instructions to show rapid progess” if they harbour hopes of staying in the national squad.
The national squad’s training will be stepped up significantly with focus on mental training.
For the record Soon Huat-Shevon Lai did well to reach the semi-finals in the World Tour Finals before losing to Koreans Seo Seung Jae-Chae YuJung.
When considering that Soon Huat-Shevon Lai is still in contention to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics rescheduled to be held in July-August this year, axing the pair is best described as “CRUEL”.
With the country hit badly by the Covid-19 pandemic, many others added that the timing is not right as the BAM failed to give a thought to the welfare of the players, especially when the pandemic is a ready made excuse from the sponsors.
Back-up players Ter Chun Long, Low Eu Cong (men’s singles) and Ching Kai Feng, Ooi Jhy Dar (men’s doubles) have also been released.
At the same time eight probation players have been moved up to the backup squad – Wyman Goh, Lee Shun Yang, Shaqeem Eiman (men’s singles), K. Letshanaa (women’s singles), Yap Roy King, Nurfirdaus Azman, Loo Bing Kun and Lwi Sheng Hao (men’s doubles).
“The entirety of BAM gives sincere thanks to these players for their commitment, dedication, and immense contribution to the country over the years,” BAM said in a statement.
It also added that another review of the players will be done after the coming European Tour next month which includes the Yonex Swiss Open (March 2-7, Basel) and the Yonex German Open (9-14 in Mulheim), both Super 300 tournaments and offer Olympics qualifying points.
There are also the prestigious Yonex All-England Championships in Birmingham but the Super 1000 tournament does not offer Olympic points.