COPENHAGEN – The 2014 BWF Badminton World Championships which ended in Denmark yesterday exposed weaknesses in the National badminton squad.
The hopes and dreams of the entire nation that World number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei would bring back the title, did not materialize when the two-time runner-up lost 19-21, 19-21 to China’s Chen Long, the world number two in the men’s singles final at the Ballerup Super Arena, here.
Malaysians are used to watching Chong Wei being the sole representative who goes the distance in numerous tournaments while the rest fall either at the starting block or after a few strides.
However, the fate of Malaysian badminton cannot hinge on the shoulders of Chong Wei alone since age is catching up on the star who is now 31.
Chong Wei aside, the performances of the rest in the squad to Denmark was disappointing to say the least, especially Chong Wei Feng’s defeat in the first round to England’s Rajiv Ouseph, since Wei Feng has been regarded as Chong Wei’s successor.
The dismal performance of the women shuttlers continued in Denmark, raising concerns over the progress in the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) development programmes.
Most of them were packed off in the early rounds while some had put up a reasonable level of commitment despite losing, namely Tee Jing Yi who played in the women’s singles and Vivian Hoo Kah Mun/Woon Khe Wei who saw action in the women’s doubles.
The fact that unheralded badminton playing nation Spain, better known for motorsports, bull fights and football had been able to produce a world champion in the women’s category, must serve as a wake up call to Malaysian shuttlers, especially women shuttlers.
Carolina Marin from Spain caused a sensational upset by beating world number one Olympic champion and defending world champion Li Xuerui of China 17-21, 21-17, 21-18 to lift the prestigious women’s singles title.
Even players from India, Saina Nehwal and P.V Sindhu managed to make it to the quarterfinal and semifinal stage.
The BAM, as the administer of badminton in the country, need to re-look at its development programmes to ensure the success of its programmes in order to produce world class players who can win titles and not make up the numbers at major tournaments.
The success of Japan to lift the Thomas Cup, reach the final of the Uber Cup, South Korea’s prowess in the men’s doubles, China’s dominance in the women’s and mixed doubles competitions are simply a reflection of our failure.
Malaysia’s over-dependence on a number of seniors, including Chong Wei, may lead to the downfall of a nation that has been a powerhouse since the 1950’s. – Bernama