THE Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are set to welcome back 2006 Asian Games gold medallist Tan Boon Heong to the national side, as they look to strengthen the men’s doubles department for the Thomas Cup challenge in Bangkok in May.
BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria made the announcement after chairing the Coaching and Training (C&T) committee meeting at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara today.
According to Norza, Boon Heong — who first quit the national body in 2015 — had requested to return, after his former independent partner Hendra Setiawan rejoined the Indonesian national team.
And in light of Malaysia’s turmoil in the men’s doubles department, BAM have agreed to have the 30-year-old back on a long term plan.
“Actually Boon Heong was the one who requested to join us, after his partnership with Hendra Setiawan came to an end.
“Looking at our men’s doubles department, we could use a player of his stature, of course on our terms.
“So far we have Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong who are solid, but our second and third pair are still a little shaky.
“We want to beef up for our Thomas Cup challenge, we want to have a formidable squad because we want to win,” said Norza, who also announced the promotion of Rosman Razak to women’s doubles head coach, where he will be assisted by former head coach Wong Pei Tty.
“Since Rosman is now the women’s doubles head coach, there is an opening in the men’s doubles department.
“We have a couple of coaches in mind, but we cannot reveal their names as we are still in the negotiating process.”
Norza added that changes have been made to the Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast) squad based on players’ performance as well as some who were forced to be sidelined due to injury.
“The Commonwealth Games final list closing date is on March 7, so we have to finalise our teams fast. The first is mixed doubles Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing will be replaced by Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie.
“And in women’s doubles, Woon Khe Wei is out for at least six weeks and will be replaced by Chow Mei Kuan. As for women’s singles, we are still waiting to hear from head coach Tey Seu Bock. There could be a possibility where Goh Jin Wei will be replaced,” explained Norza.
As for the Thomas Cup, BAM can still make changes to the teams up to the end of March.
“For now, Lee Chong Wei and Lee Zii Jia are the only two men’s singles confirmed for the Thomas Cup. The rest (Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Soong Joo Ven and Leong Jun Hao) will have to fight hard to earn their spots. We are also waiting for Soon Kit to present his assessment. We want the men’s singles and doubles coach to work together well.”
The Malaysian contingent will hold their centralised training a week before the Thomas Cup, which gets underway on May 20, and are tentatively looking to leave for Bangkok on May 16.
Other matters discussed at the C&T meeting: Coaches received 2017 bonuses amounting to RM230,000 in conjunction with Chinese New Year.
Players ranked outside the national top three will have to play in more than just one event in tournaments.