The recently concluded Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) Invitational Championships proved that national senior shuttlers cannot afford to rest on their laurels after several surprising results dished out by their junior compatriots.
The internal meet was the first competitive affair after almost half a year for the participating shuttlers, and the intensity clearly took its toll on some players including Lee Zii Jia, Liew Daren, Soong Joo Ven and Leong Jun Hao who withdrew injured.
But it also provided the opportunity for the juniors to show their more experienced teammates that they were more than sparring partners, being capable of beating the big names when given a shot.
Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Lee were among the big names who lost to lower ranked opponents, while others barely scraped by in hard fought battles.
National coaching director Wong Choong Hann said the internal meet had met its objectives.
"Overall it was a positive affair. We are used to seeing the big guns fire on the international stage, but from this event we saw their backs are monitored closely by the youngsters. The juniors are aware of their blind spots and weaknesses.
"Some of the upsets are not because the juniors are familiar with the seniors. They are closing the gap. All the hard training, all the scolding they received, they took it in stride and it is bearing fruits. I want them to continue working hard.
"There will be a time that belongs to them," Wong told Stadium Astro.
The former singles ace also confirmed that Lee and Leong’s injuries are being monitored after they suffered lower back and thigh injuries.
Mixed doubles shuttler Goh Soon Huat also withdrew with a lower back injury while straining himself to make an offensive return shot.
All the setbacks, however, are not major and the shuttlers are expected to recover in due time.
The national body are planning another internal meet pitting the national shuttlers versus the independent players in a team format in preparation for the Thomas & Uber Cup in October.
However, the status of the biennial meet hangs in the balance, especially after a spike of coronavirus cases in Aarhus, Denmark, where the tournament is scheduled to take place.
Tue Aug 18 2020
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