Wednesday, 14 February 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM
BAM believe recalling veteran will be a Boon for Thomas Cup team
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia are inspired by Indonesia’s move to bring back old-timer Hendra Setiawan to the national fold.
The 33-year-old Hendra, a three-time world champion, was an instant hit as he partnered Rian Agung Saputro to deliver the winning point in Indonesia’s 3-1 win over China in the final of the Asia Team Championships on Sunday.
And the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have decided to follow suit by recalling doubles ace Tan Boon Heong.
The 30-year-old Boon Heong has kept himself active since leaving BAM in 2015. He partnered Hendra for the 2017 season and they ended the year as No. 23 in the world.
The presence of Boon Heong is expected to add more depth to the team comprising Rio Olympic silver medallists Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi, Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani and Chooi Kah Ming-Low Juan Shen.
Boon Heong may get a chance to play at the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, from May 20-27.
“Boon Heong is offered a place in the BAM on a long-term basis in order to strengthen the doubles department,” said BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria after a coaching and training committee meeting yesterday.
“V Shem-Wee Kiong are confirmed as our No. 1 but I’m worried about the performance of the second doubles.
“I’ve instructed head coach (Cheah) Soon Kit to review and replace if necessary the second pair. We want to be strong and formidable in May.”
Meanwhile, Norza added that the spot for third singles in the Thomas Cup team was up for grabs among three players – Soong Joo Ven, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Leong Jun Hao.
Another major announcement during the meeting was the redesignation of men’s doubles coach Rosman Razak to women’s doubles head coach.
It will be the 42-year-old Rosman’s second stint with the women’s doubles department and he will be assisted by Wong Pei Tty, who was previously given the task to head the women.
Norza also announced that all doubles players who were not ranked in the top three during the National Championships were now required to take up double duties by playing in the doubles and mixed doubles.
“Most players don’t know whether their calling is the doubles or mixed doubles,” said Norza.
“We’ll have more players involved in more events and we get to develop more pairs too. For this to work, we need all our doubles coaches to share resources and avoid working in a silo,” added Norza.