If schools can’t provide shuttlecocks, coaches for students, Malaysia can kiss Thomas Cup goodbye

220514 badminton

Malaysia’s shocking 3-2 defeat to India in the Thomas Cup quarterfinals on Thursday has ruffled the feathers of many badminton fans.

Not surprisingly, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) is on the receiving end of most of the brickbats.

While there are plenty of reasons to point the finger at the national body, perhaps we should also look at what we are doing to develop the talent pool.

How many parents are willing to allow their children to pick up sports as a career? How many schools have qualified coaches as teachers for their sporting activities?

Let’s take my daughter’s school in Subang Jaya, as an example.

Now that we have entered the endemic stage of Covid-19, physical education classes and training for sports clubs in schools have begun.

However, some parents voiced their displeasure, that while their children had brought racquets to school, the badminton club did not provide shuttlecocks for the players.

The kids had to play outdoors, some under trees, with shuttlecocks that were past their shelf life that they had found on the ground. What irked the parents most was that their children had been left alone.

“What is the point of staying in school when there is no plan or programme to follow?” asked one parent.

Another said: “It was windy, and once the shuttlecock was stuck up a tree, they just sat down and waited for the time to go back. It was a waste of time.”

The parents said they did not mind buying shuttlecocks, but they would rather their kids return home if there was no one to guide them.

On the plus side, my daughter, who joined the archery club, said there was a teacher to instruct them on the dos and don’ts, and on how to assemble the beginners’ bow.

At least, that is something.

Before Covid-19, many parents lamented that their children’s schools did not have qualified physical education teachers.

The common complaint was: “Every time they want to play football, the teacher chucks the ball to the kids and lets them run around. There are no discussions about tactics or any skills training.”

Perhaps BAM, the Football Association of Malaysia, and other sporting entities can find a way to work with the Education Ministry to get the right coaches at the grassroots level.

Otherwise, we could miss out on some hidden talents, and our abysmal performance on the international stage will continue.

NEW CASES RISE POST-RAYA

As Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah warned, new Covid-19 cases shot up after the Hari Raya holidays.

There were 18,136 new infections in the past seven days, a near 100 per cent increase from last week (9,467). That took the total to 4,473,500.

There were 31 deaths in the past week, making it 35,607 fatalities.

That includes one death on Monday.

The good news is that 14,888 people received the all-clear, which means 4,409,159 patients successfully beat the coronavirus.

Worldwide, there are 520,476,717 cases, and 6,286,781 fatalities.

TRAFFIC AT A STANDSTILL

I do not know about the rest of you, but traffic was horrendous this past week.

Although I prefer to use the radio frequency identification (RFID) lanes, I stopped doing so as many drivers had forgotten to top up their balance, causing long jams.

Until they increase the number of RFID lanes entering Taman Tun Dr Ismail in Kuala Lumpur, I may have to continue using the Touch ‘n Go or SmartTag lanes.

FIVE UNUSUAL SPORTS AT THE SEA GAMES

The 31st SEA Games is going on in Hanoi, Vietnam. Malaysia swept the gold medals in diving, but there are still nine days left.

If you are interested in some of the more unusual sports, check out this article.

16 OLD-FASHIONED CHOCOLATE DESSERTS

World Baking Day is on Tuesday. As Monday is a public holiday, here are some chocolate recipes you could try before that.

And Happy Wesak to those celebrating!

SOMEWHERE, SOMEONE’S FALLING IN LOVE

John Prine returns this week with a lovely song.

Until next week, stay safe.