The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) decided to break rank and give their junior shuttlers maximum exposure after naming a young squad for the upcoming Sudirman Cup and Thomas & Uber Cup.
Malaysia will be competing in two back-to-back team events beginning with the Sudirman Cup (Sept 26-Oct 3) in Vantaa, Finland, followed by the rescheduled Thomas & Uber Cup in Aarhus, Denmark (Oct 9-17).
Despite not having recent success in both events, the national body decided to name a squad with an average age of 21 and 22 respectively.
Lee Zii Jia leads the team for both tournaments, and at 23 he will be captain in a team brimming with potential who could potentially upset some of the bigger nations.
“We named this team based on their results in overseas competitions this year, and their ability to take on foreign players. For instance Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun have proven they are a threat to foreign players.
“Our plan is to give them maximum exposure and to gain experience. Before this they never had a chance to play against top players because their ranking only allows them to play in lower ranked opponents.
"We can now break the rank and fast track them to play against the best in these team events. They will know their level playing against these players, and it will motivate them to work harder to close the gap,” said national coaching director Wong Choong Hann.
Ng Tze Yong, Man-Tee, Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See, Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah and S. Kisona are some of the shuttlers excelling on the international front this year.
Ng and Man-Tee won the men’s singles and men’s doubles titles at the Polish Open, while Pearly-Thinaah upset the formbook to win the Swiss Open women’s doubles title.
Kisona meanwhile beat team-mate Goh Jin Wei to win the Spanish International, while Hoo-Cheah did well to reach the Thailand Open 2 semi-finals earlier this year.
With proven winners in almost every category, the BAM set a quarter-final target for both events.
Malaysia are in Group D of the Sudirman Cup along with Japan, England and Egypt.
For the Thomas Cup, they are housed in Group D with Japan, England and Canada.
The Uber Cup team are also in Group D with China, Denmark and Canada.
The national contingent will leave straight from Vantaa to Aarhus for the Thomas & Uber Cup.
YOUTHFUL NATIONAL SQUAD TO COMPETE IN FINLAND & DENMARK— BAM (@BA_Malaysia) September 11, 2021
BAM President, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Norza Zakaria unveiled a youthful national squad for the Sudirman Cup 2021 and the Thomas & Uber Cup 2020 Finals. pic.twitter.com/4NHWgG72ML