The Badminton Association of Malaysia has ”opened the doors” for independent shuttlers to join the national squad for training as sparring partners – thanks to BAM supremo Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria. The national shuttlers are set to resume training at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) by next month, if given the green light by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Health, and the National Security Council (NSC).
BAM has submitted a proposal and put in place all standard operating procedures (SOP) to resume training since the movement control order (MCO) came into force on March 18. The lockdown brought all sporting activities in the country to a standstill.
Norza’s decision to invite the professionals to join the national squad for training twice a week from July 15 is indeed a good move.
The even better news for these players os that they will be able to join the training full-time if they qualify for the Tokyo Olympics which have now been postponed to next summer.
Having the professionals join the national squad in training will help all the players have good sparring sessions ahead of the major competitions.
Norza’s decision to invite the professionals drove home a strong message that Malaysia wants only the best for this year’s Thomas Cup Finals which will now be held in Aarhus, Denmark from Oct 3-11. He wants to send the strongest possible team and mount a serious challenge in Denmark.
For the record, Malaysia qualified for the Thomas Cup Finals on merit after finishing runners up to defending champions Indonesia in last year’s Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships in Manila.
Mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying were thrilled to get the ‘invitation’ as it is a win-win situation for both parties. The pair won the silver medal in the mixed doubles at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying went independent in January last year and are currently the highest-ranked Malaysians at No 7 and well placed to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.
For Peng Soon, two recently became a father for the fourth time early this month, to get the chance to train at the academy is ”going back home” to familiar environments. ”The quality sparring we will get is a big boost for us to prepare for the Olympics,” said Peng Soon from Penang.
”Ít is a win-win situation for both parties. Since leaving the BAM, I have only sparred with the men’s doubles. It will be nice to spar with other mixed doubles pairs,” said Melaka-born Liu Ying. RIZAL ABDULLAH