Young shuttlers’ performance worrying, what’s next?

PHNOM PENH – It never rains but it pours

That proverb best describes the lacklustre performance of the young national badminton squad at the 2023 SEA Games which closes today.

The humiliating loss to the Philippines suffered by the national women’s squad in the team event at the quarter-final stage with a 3-0 result seemed to be an omen that this Games would invite ‘disaster’ to the national badminton camp here.

It turned out the assumption was not wrong at all when the badminton squad failed to meet the target of bringing home a gold medal set by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) before the biennial games took place.

Malaysia, on the other hand, won two silver medals through the men’s team event and the mixed doubles pairing of Yap Roy King-Cheng Su Yin as well as four bronze medals by men’s singles – Leong Jun Hao and Lee Shun Yang in addition to the women’s doubles pairings of Su Yin-Cheng Su Hui and Lee Xin Jie – Low Yeen Yuan.

The poor performance of the national squad this time was a near repeat of the achievement at the 2011 edition in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia, where they only won one silver through the men’s team event and two bronzes from the women’s team and men’s doubles through the pairing of Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah.

The manager of the national badminton team, Mohd Taupik Hussain when met admitted the failure of the women’s squad in the team event here after being upset by the Philippines, last week.

Thus, Mohd Taupik who will present the performance report of the national players as soon as he returns to Malaysia also does not rule out the possibility that a revamp will take place in the national women’s badminton camp following the poor performance displayed in the team event at the Morodok Techo Badminton Hall.

Despite the disappointing performance in the women’s team event in Cambodia, he praised the performance of the female players in the individual events, especially Su Yin-Su Hui and Xin Jie-Yeen Yuan, who managed to win bronze, thus being able to heal a little the wound that was really ‘painful’ for them here.

Not only that, he was also proud of the performance of the national men’s team when they managed to put up stiff opposition despite losing to the champions, Indonesia 1-3 in the final last Thursday as well as mixed doubles pair, Roy King-Su Yin.

Although newly paired up at the last minute ahead of the 2023 SEA Games, Roy King-Su Yin showed a commendable performance when they were able to give fierce opposition to the top seed and the world’s 10th pair from Indonesia, Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto-Lisa Ayu Kusumawati before losing 22-20. 8-21, 16-21.

“They have given a good performance but luck was not with us,” said Mohd Taupik in commenting on the performance of the men’s badminton team and Roy King-Su Yin.

Besides the quality of the game that needs to be improved, the mental and psychological aspects of the players should also be emphasised to ensure that they can perform more calmly on the court.

This could be seen as there were players who easily ‘crumbled’ at critical moments, thus causing them to lose focus and affect their performance to the point of falling to players who were much lower in ranking.

It cannot be denied, the players may have played their best but the coaching staff and top management of BAM also have to take responsibility for the gloomy episode in Cambodia.

A radical change should be taken because the standard of the country’s players with traditional enemy Indonesia who also featured a young squad is quite disturbing and if the parties involved continue to be complacent, it will not surprising if Vietnam and the Philippines are able to overtake us in the future.

The recent resignation of the Chief Executive Officer of Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM), Michelle Chai, deserves praise because she herself took responsibility for the failure of the women’s badminton squad even though the 2023 SEA Games badminton competition was still ongoing at the time.

In fact, sports fans in the country are certainly looking forward to see if there will be any further action from BAM that will be able to save the dignity of the national badminton squad on the world stage.

All the more saddening, the failure of the national badminton squad in Cambodia is one of the black moments of the national contingent who recorded their worst performance in the history of the SEA Games here.

Malaysia closed the campaign in Phnom Penh with a seventh place finish and fell short of the target of 40 gold medals when they collected only 34 gold, 45 silver and 97 bronze medals, coming behind Cambodia, the Philippines and Singapore.

On the day all the medal events ended yesterday, the country’s performance this time was more disappointing, even worse than at the same Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, last year which saw them finish sixth overall with 39 gold, 45 silver and 90 bronze. – Bernama