‘Something is wrong with BAM structure’

Lee Chong Wei

Lee Chong Wei won a record 12th Malaysian Open men’s singles title. But the nagging question remains – where are the rest of the Malaysian shuttlers?

With the exception of Lee, the rest were smashed out in the quarterfinals on Friday.

And just like a broken record, calls for revamps surface as the BA of Malaysia (BAM) scrambles to pacify fans who demand to know why the nation is unable to produce quality shuttlers like our Asian peers.

Badminton Asia chief operating officer Kenny Goh believes something doesn’t seem to be ticking within the national body’s structure.

“In my opinion, something is wrong with BAM’s coaching and training structure. I’ve highlighted this before but I’m unsure what’s going on internally,” said Goh, who was once BAM general manager.

In fact, efforts to mould the next Lee Chong Wei started during Datuk Seri Nadzmi Salleh’s tenure as BAM president 18 years ago. He has since been replaced by two other presidents but neither Nadzmi nor his predecessors seem to have a team who are able to address this.

“only Lee has been consistent. The rest of the Malaysian players have been struggling to perform. Time is not on the Malaysians’ side as other countries have clearly progressed.”

He added it was disheartening that no effort was made to relook at the BAM coaching and training structure.

“For starters, everybody talks about in-depth studies but no one specifies what kind of study they should embark on. It would be easier to just do a swot analysis to see what is wrong.

“Probably BAM has internal matters preventing them from making the changes but changes must be made if Malaysia wants to be a powerhouse in the region and the world. You just can’t do the same thing over and over again but expect different results,” he added.

Many ponder the fate of the national team ahead of the Asian Games in Indonesia following their forgettable performances during the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and the Thomas and Uber Cups.

Goh singled out Indonesia and China as having produced quality second string players. He said the second string players in those countries were far superior to those from Malaysia.

He said the other Asian countries had found the formula as evident in the Malaysia Open.

China and Japan dominated the finals with Lee representing Malaysia in the men’s singles final and Tai Tzu Ying playing for Taiwan in the women’s singles final.

Lee won after an exciting encounter with Japan’s Kento Momota (21-17, 23-21) while Tai defeated China’s He Bingjiao 22-20, 21-11 to win the title.

“Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Thailand all have different structures but they seem to work. Japan is much decentralised, China is much centralised while Thailand relies on clubs.

“There is no one shoe fits all approach and hopefully Malaysia will continue finding the structure that best suits them.”