Liew Daren went into the recently concluded Bangkok Tour not knowing what to expect, with little preparations and insufficient training to the Movement Control Order (MCO), but the independent shuttler returned with a much needed boost.
Liew emerged as the highest jumper from the Bangkok Tour as he climbed eight rungs to 33rd on the men's singles world rankings, thanks to a commendable showing at Thailand Open 1 and 2.
The 34-year-old dished out the biggest upset at Thai 1 by ousting world number three Anders Antonsen to make the quarter-finals, and reached the same stage at the following event before falling at the hands of the in-form Viktor Axelsen.
Liew said even he was surprised with himself, as he had not prepared well due to the restrictions and wasn’t even slated to feature due to being on the reserve list.
“My preparation was not ideal. Due to the MCO, I couldn’t train properly as the badminton courts and gyms were closed. I had to resort to training on my own, which included mostly cardio through jogging.
“Unlike the national shuttlers who could train at the national academy facility, the independent players had limited options. We only had court training one to two weeks before leaving,” Liew told Stadium Astro.
The former world number 10 felt that the European shuttlers had an advantage in those events, compared to the Asians.
“The restrictions in Europe are less than Asia, so their shuttlers have been training more. Even the Chinese Taipei players were constantly training, which is why they did well in Bangkok.”
Liew will next compete at the European circuit, which wasn’t originally in his plans.
“I wanted to play in the Malaysia Open events, but with the tournament status still up in the air I have decided to go to Europe instead.”
He also sympathised with the five shuttlers who were dropped from the national team earlier this week.
“This is not an ideal time, with the economic situation and all. I was fortunate to secure a sponsor in May last year. But I think the national shuttlers can secure sponsors if they are not too demanding. It all depends on what they are asking for.”
Soniia Cheah, Vivian Hoo, Goh Soon Huat, Lai Pei Jing and Shevon Lai were axed after below par performances at the Bangkok events.
Meanwhile, the German Open which was part of the European Tour has been called off due to the pandemic.
The Swiss Open (March 2-7) and the All-England Championships (March 17-21) are still scheduled to go ahead.