BAM must look beyond Chong Wei era and overhaul system

Datuk Kenny Goh

The current badminton structure is clearly not working as Malaysia is still holding on to Datuk Lee Chong Wei to bring honours to the nation.

Yet, Lee – who got back to the courts earlier this year after defeating early stage nose cancer – is set to miss the World Championships as he faces a long and winding road to the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Badminton Asia chief operation officer Datuk Kenny Goh said it is high time for BAM did away with its current structure and started thinking differently to get results.

“What BAM is doing today is no different from 20 years ago. It worked then but it may not now,” said Goh.

“For starters, there is just too much emphasis on getting talents from Bukit Jalil Sports School. Perhaps it’s time to decentralise and empower other parties, including the state associations, to build their own talents.”

He, however, admitted the state badminton associations are sorely lacking in many areas.

“We often hear about states not doing anything, not having any leagues, blueprint or training programmes. But it’s true. They must be actively involved in churning out new players and the best will represent the country.”

Goh highlighted that even the coaches and training modules had to change as administrators also need to be open to new challenges and adapt new methodologies to improve the sport.

“Look at China and Indonesia. Granted they have a huge population but they also have a good system that starts from the grassroots – the provinces – and thus these nations are able to churn out quality players.”

“Badminton in Indonesia experienced a lull when Taufik Hidayat retired but they quickly bounced back with several new players. These new players are not of Taufik’s calibre but still they have managed to close the gap. Malaysia needs such a system.”

Goh said this during the recording of BFM’s ‘Bar None’ as the show explores Lee’s predicament of possibly having to say goodbye to his career without two elusive triumphs – the World Championship and Olympics gold medal. Goh, who was BAM general manager for 10 years before moving to Badminton Asia, also spoke on the need to create new brand ambassadors for the sport in the region.

For more of Goh’s views, tune in to Bar None (89.9FM) tonight at 9pm.