The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are confident of developing a strong level of competition within the national stable and eventually sending a strong representation out to compete at BWF World Tour tournaments.
With Lee Zii Jia and women’s doubles shuttlers M.Thinaah-Pearly Tan winning at the recent All-England and Swiss Open respectively, the national body wanted the rest to narrow the gap on them to create a formidable side on the international stage.
“Our approach is that we develop a good layer for both the junior and senior players. To achieve this, the BAM will send the shuttlers to compete in at least 15 tournaments a year to prove their mettle once the season is in full flow again.
“We need to get as many players at least in the top 60. The plan is to get them to level up, so that they can give each other a good competition within the national camp, and eventually the rest on the bigger events,” said BAM president Norza Zakaria during the Wall of Champions unveiling for Lee and Thinaah-Tan.
The men’s singles is seen as the biggest priority to produce more depth to complement Lee.
Ng Tze Yong’s win at the Polish Open last week was an indication that he can be further polished to break into the world top 100 and climb up the rankings steadily.
There were also Cheam June Wei, Justin Hoh and Jacky Kok who were touted as prospects for the future.
Lee, meanwhile, was confirmed not participating at the India Open (May 11-16), and will instead focus on preparing for the Malaysia Open (May 25-30).
The 23-year-old also stated his ambition to break into the top five soon.
“We are still unsure of how many competitions will be available this year, but I have set my sights on getting into the top five. I know there will be pressure on me to deliver more wins after this, but I can handle pressure in my own way,” he said.
Lee received a RM30,000 incentive for his All-England success, while Thinaah-Tan got RM15,000 each.