‘When you don’t engage, people become suspicious’

KENNY Goh Chee Keong has been making his views heard in recent days.

The Badminton Asia chief operating officer has spoken against the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Council’s proposal to change the scoring system to 11 points over best of five sets. The council failed to receive the required two-thirds majority during the BWF annual general meeting in Bangkok on May 19.

He has also shared his thoughts about the Malaysian badminton squad who suffered a forgettable outing in last week’s Thomas and Uber Cups in Bangkok.

Goh met Twentytwo13 as he explained his views.

You said the proposed scoring system by BWF was ‘puzzling’, adding “either BWF is lying about the research or they used the wrong samples.” Could you explain?

Goh: I’m not questioning the new scoring system. I’m merely asking about the manner it was done. BWF said they had done extensive research to introduce the 11 points (best of five sets). The advantages include it is television-friendly and shorter sets will see players peak faster.

But why weren’t the players engaged during the research? The athletes are integral to the ecosystem. Top nations should have a say too. Why weren’t they engaged?

Why weren’t players, member countries or even the press engaged?

Goh: I don’t know but when there is no engagement, people become suspicious.

Maybe 11 points is good … but the manner in which it was presented was questionable.

Also, the study was done by the BWF Council instead of an independent and impartial party.

I also believe BWF should learn how to engage with the media to get their views across clearly.

As former BAM general manager, what are your thoughts on the Malaysian squad in Bangkok?

Goh: To be fair, Malaysia has a pool of young players. But Malaysia must have a short-term plan. BAM needs to be more focused … build an elite yet formidable side that focuses on team and individual events at the highest level.

The long-term plan has to be development. Right now, BAM seems to be banking solely on Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) talents. But development should be beyond BJSS. Decentralisation is the answer. Give more power and responsibilities to the state associations and allow clubs to flourish.

Why isn’t BAM embracing clubs?

Goh: Five or six years ago, BAM had no choice but to adopt a centralised system simply because there weren’t enough funds and most of the state associations and clubs were not run professionally. The clubs didn’t have adequate manpower. Most of them couldn’t survive.

Today, there is more funding and I believe if clubs and state associations are empowered and given the responsibility – and if they are run professionally – they can flourish.

BAM is the governing body so they will always be in control. BAM can focus on the cream of the crop … a leaner squad.

Should BAM concentrate on organising more tournaments?

Goh: Yes as even senior players are unable to cope with the pressure during team event tournaments. This can be addressed by organising more events.

If BAM is focused, then it can concentrate on beefing up tournaments like the Malaysian Open by making it lucrative and attractive with huge prize money. This is achievable through a proper marketing plan, which can only be carried out if BAM is focused.