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PUTRAJAYA – Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has requested all parties involved in the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ on the leadership transition at the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to be honest and respect it.

“It is not a formal or written agreement, but one done verbally between individuals, and I think those involved must respect it.

“If we think we honour the agreement, we should stick to it. If the agreement is not a written one, we cannot compel or enforce it,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after witnessing the signing of a sponsorship agreement between the Malaysia SEA Games Organising Committee (MASOC) and plastic packaging company SCGM Group at the ministry here today.

Bernama had previously reported that BAM president Tan Sri Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff, who took leave from office since October 2015, made a succession deal with the two top leaders of the association.

According to the agreement, acting president Tan Sri Al Amin Abd Majid will give way to Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria after the Rio Olympics in 2016 or at the end of the term of the existing committee.

However, Al Amin, who is also interested in the hot seat, has denied he was involved in the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’.

The BAM election is expected to take place during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) next month.

In the meantime, commenting on the success of women’s high jump athlete Yap Sean Yee who managed to improve her national record, Khairy said it bode well for the national athletics squad in the upcoming Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

“We had one of our worst performances in the Singapore SEA Games in 2015. Many people want to see the revival of Malaysian athlectics…I hope it begins at the SEA Games,” he said.

Yap charted a leap of 1.81 metres in the Kuala Lumpur Sports Schools Council (MSSKL) Athletic Chmapionships at the National Sports Council (NSC) Complex in Setiawangsa yesterday, overcoming her previous record of 1.79m achieved at the Pahang Open Championship in 2015. – BERNAMA

SIBU – National mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying have decided to withdraw from the Victor Far East Malaysia Masters Championships that starts here tomorrow.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) general manager Lawrence Chew said the pair had to withdraw since Liu Ying had injured her leg.

“Liu Ying suffered a leg injury. This is unfortunate but happens in sports like badminton and the pair had to withdraw,” he said.

Peng Soon-Liu Ying who were the top seeds in the tournament were scheduled to meet Yehezkiel Mainaky/Lyanny Ale Mainaky in the first round tomorrow.

Chew said based on information received during the managers meeting today, a number of players who had registered for the tournament had also decided to withdraw.

However, 90 per cent of the shuttlers have already arrived in Sibu and checked out the Sibu Indoor Stadium, he said after inspecting the preparations for the championships at the stadium, here today.

The tournament which offers USD120,000 (RM540,000) as total prize money, will kick off tomorrow with the qualifying round at 8.30am.

Fans can watch the matches free. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has for the first time introduced an incentive scheme to reward players who finish among the top three in the world ranking.

BAM deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said the idea was never announced but a similar incentive was given to Datuk Lee Chong Wei.

Since the men’s doubles pair comprising Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong are also on top of the world ranking, BAM felt they too should receive the incentive.

Mohamad Norza said the incentive was not limited to money but can be in the form of an upgraded flight ticket like what Chong Wei has been enjoying.

“Currently V Shem-Wee Kiong are in the top three bracket in the world ranking list and I am confident the women’s doubles pair and the mixed doubles pair who are in the top 10 list will emulate the ranking of Chong Wei and the men’s doubles pair.

“The main idea for introducing the incentive scheme is to encourage more players to reach the optimum level,” he said after chairing a BAM coaching committee meeting at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara, here today.

Mohamad Norza said the criteria for incentives would be submitted to the BAM treasurer Datuk Lim Teong Kiat for further action.

Meanwhile, Mohamad Norza said BAM had absorbed six new faces into the Podium Programme that is being handled by the National Sports Institute (ISN).

The six players are Iskandar Zulkarnain (men’s singles), Goh Jin Wei (women’s singles), Teo Ee Yi/Ong Yew Sin (men’s doubles), Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing (mixed doubles).

He said for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, the BAM had identified 18 players but the final list of nine players would be determined in June. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Shuttlers under the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have been given two months to improve their performance before the badminton governing body in the country restructures the national squad next year.

FAM deputy president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria said the decision was made during BAM’s Coaching & Training (C&T) meeting held last Tuesday.

“Despite the major restructuring of player groups being done after the Olympics next year, there may be some adjustments made at the end of this year, as perhaps, not all players will make it to next year’s squad,” he said in a statement here yesterday.

“Every year, BAM does make some changes, this usually in November and December involving the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) students, back-up players as well as the senior team.

“Therefore, there may be a possibility that a minor adjustment will be carried out end of this year. However, it will all depend on the players’ performance as they still have another two months,” he added.

Norza said the adjustment would not affect the players’ preparations for the Olympics.

“Since it has already been said that some of the players may still continue to prove their worth while in BAM and at the same time, to help in terms of sparring for all those who may qualify for the Olympics in Rio next year,” said Norza.

– BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – National singles badminton player Zulfadli Zulkilfi is not keen to join the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and is more comfortable continuing with the training programme handled by his father, Zulkifli Daud.

National Sports Council (MSN) director-general, Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said this was revealed by his father on Sunday, after a discussion with Zulfadli and his father, as his coach, on Thursday.

“Zulfadli’s father, who represented him, contacted me and informed me that for the time being he is not able to accept the suggestion to join BAM. He tendered his apology as Zulfadli already has a specific training programme to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“For the time being, Zulkifli is of the view that Zulfadli should go ahead with the programme drawn up and which is already half-way, to qualify to Rio,” he told reporters at his office, here, yesterday.

Ahmad Shapawi said MSN accepted and was open about the decision and would not hold any further discussion whether with Zulfadli or BAM on the matter.

Zulfadli, 22, who is ranked 36th, and an independent athlete, exhibited a convincing performance at the 2015 World Badminton Championship in Jakarta in August, ousting sixth ranked player Chow Tien Chen of Taiwan in the second round.

The 2011 World Youth champion then beat Scott Evans of Ireland in the second round before losing in the third round to Wei Nan of Hong Kong.

Subsequently, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin suggested that Zulfadli consider joining BAM so that his talent could be more systematically developed.

The suggestion was also echoed by national singles champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei and former singles coach Rashid Sidek who saw that Zulfadli’s talent could be developed in BAM which has proper training facilities and training partners.

MSN then took the initiative to meet Zulfadli and his father to discuss the suggestion.

Ahmad Shapawi said, during the meeting, Zulfadli and his father were briefed on the training programmes provided at MSN, BAM and the National Sports Institute, and they requested that they be given until Sunday to consider.

Ahmad Shapawi, who is also National Sports Association Joint Working Committee chairman, said, currently too, BAM had not listed Zulfadli’s name in the programme for the 2017 SEA Games.

– BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) technical director Morten Frost Hansen is more interested in engaging local coaches for the national team and Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) programmes.

He said some names have been shortlisted and was looking for at least five coaches to assist the national and junior badminton squads.

“I am looking for singles and doubles coaches for the national set up. I have quite a long list of coaches that I would like to talk to. But it will depend on the situation on their side…their attachment, commitment and so on,” he said in a press conference at BAM office, here yesterday.

Frost said he had also talked to Lee Wan Wah, who coached Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong.

“He (Wan Wah) is just the name of a fairly good example of someone who I feel can do a good job but he is also having obligation elsewhere. It would take time to find the right one and also to find someone who is not attached at the moment,” he added.

BAM lost a number of coaches, including Zhou Yang, the BJSS’ form one coach.

In July national mixed doubles coach Tan Kim Her left the BAM to join the Badminton Association of India (BAI) after Rashid Sidek and Rosman Razak left to join Sports Affairs as the singles and doubles chief coaches in June.

Five-time world champion Lin Dan’s coach, He Guo Quan, left in May while four BJSS coaches — Zhou Kejian, Chong Kien Ling, Poh Chai Boon and Chin Tze Seong – left the BAM in January.

“We have lost quite a number of coaches but it is a very normal and natural thing that happens when your are trying to revamp a system.

“I’ve been working hard to talk to the BAM management to start looking at how and when we can employ new coaches. We will try to have all five coaches before Jan 1,” he said.

– BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA – The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will be discussing finding a replacement for men’s doubles coach Tan Kim Her at its executive committee meeting today, said BAM deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria.

He said BAM respected Kim Her’s decision to join the Badminton Association of India (BAI) as head coach for their men’s doubles team.

“We wish him the best of luck in seeking greener pastures,” he told reporters when met at his Aidilfitri open house here yesterday.

He added that he had full faith that BAM technical director Morten Frost Hansen would find a suitable replacement for the 44-year-old coach.

India Today’s news portal reported on Friday that Kim Her had signed a five-year contract with BAI to take charge of their men’s doubles team.

– BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR: After serving a backdated eight-month suspension for a doping violation, former world number one shuttler Datuk Lee Chong Wei has been relegated to 45th placing in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings.

He is now behind Chong Wei Feng who has been ranked 31st with 35,199 points while independent shuttler Zulfadli Zulkiffli ranked 41st with 28,910 points.

According to the rankings released today in BWF’s official website, www.bwfbadminton.org, the ace shuttler now has 27,631 points, all collected before testing positive for dexamethasone at the World Championship in Copenhagen in August 2014.

The points come from the Indonesian Open, Japan Open, and Thomas Cup, all before the two-time Olympic silver medallist was suspended by BWF backdating to Aug 30, 2014. The suspension ends today (April 30).

With the suspension ending effective midnight today, Chong Wei is set to make his appearance at the Sudirman Cup in Dongguan, China from May 10-17 before appearing at the SEA Games in Singapore in June. Both meets will serve as his platform to get back his rhythm.

The rankings announced today puts the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) in a fix in selecting the squad for the 2015 Indonesian World Championship from Aug 10-16.

“BAM can only choose two players from the men’s singles. I cannot announce them now. But if Chong Wei is chosen, it will be the best choice,” said BAM technical director Morten Frost Hansen when contacted by Bernama.

Previously, Frost had noted that Chong Wei would have to compete in all Super Series tournaments to regain his status as World No 1.

Chong Wei’s nemesis Lin Dan of China is placed second in the world ranking with 75,050 points, behind his compatriot Chen Long who holds 91,061 points.

According to the report of the hearing panel on the case, Chong Wei did not deliberately take the banned substance but it was feared to have come from a traditional supplement which he has been taking from the age of 13.

– BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – National coaches Rashid Sidek and Rosman Razak have decided to not renew their contracts which ended today, despite a review of salary by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).

BAM technical director Morten Frost Hansen said the coaches had made the decision after receiving better offers from other parties.

“We have negotiated but not been able to reach an agreement. It is not like anyone is angry or anything, it is just that it was not possible to meet ends needs.

“From the BAM part, we would like to thank both the coaches for having done a great job over the years and wish them all the best and good luck for the future,” he said in a press conference at the Malaysia Open Premier Super Series at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil, here today.

Frost confirmed that former national shuttler Lim Pek Siah will take over Rosman’s place as the women’s doubles coach but there was no immediate new appointment to replace Rashid since there are three men’s singles coaches under the association.

“She (Pek Siah) is actually an experienced coach, she has experience in Japan as well as some international exposure. She is very keen and happy to be given a chance.

“The departure of the coaches of course will affect but we sorted out back up plans, I was sort of expecting it so I had made plans and obviously whatever we do, we will continue and next week we will assign the coaches to the players,” he said.

Earlier, BAM had agreed to extend the contracts of all 22 BAM coaches with a new salary review as well as key performance index (KPI), including the three coaches who have contracts till next year, namely Tan Kim Her, Hendarawan and He Guoquan.

With the departure of the two former internationals from the coaching set up, BAM will now have 21 coaches, where Frost will act as the chief coach for each category in the newly amended ‘flat structure’. – BERNAMA

NEW DELHI – The defence team of Lee Chong Wei will be relying on the argument that the Malaysian national shuttler did not knowingly take the banned substance dexamethasone, at the hearing of the doping case on April 11 in Amsterdam.

Malaysian counsel B. Jadadish Chandra said lead counsel Mike Morgan, a specialist on sports law based in London hired by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), and his legal team were also ready to put forward the argument that dexamethasone was not a performance-enhancing drug.

He said the drug was used to relieve muscle pain and that during his 12-year professional career, Chong Wei had his blood screened 124 times.

“We are also going to put forward the argument that Chong Wei is at the tail-end of his professional career and no way would he want to mar his reputation by taking the banned substance,” Jadadish Chandra told Bernama in an interview here.

Jadadish Chandra, who is also a BAM council member, is the team manager for the Malaysian shuttlers taking part in the Indian Open starting Tuesday in the capital city here.

The lawyer said he would accompany Chong Wei, along with BAM general manager Kenny Goh and another BAM official, and would stop over in London for few days before the hearing to finalise their submissions and strategies with the law firm.

London-based lawyer Morgan had represented Manchester City footballer Yaya Toure and few other sport personalities from the United states in doping hearings.

Jadadish Chandra revealed that the legal team would use the views of experts and the other medical reports of Chong Wei to support their arguments in Amsterdam.

Asked for the team’s strategy, he said he was not at liberty to disclose the details.

“Let the panel hear us first rather than we disclose (details) to the press,” he said.

Chong Wei, who is currently serving a suspension for a doping violation at the World Championships in Copenhagen last August, faces a ban of up to two years if found guilty.

Effective Jan 1 this year, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) had amended its doping regulation to provide for the imposition of a four-year suspension on those confirmed to have taken banned drugs.

Jadadish Chandra pointed out that if the three-member panel found him guilty and imposed the maximum (two-year) penalty, it will effectively end Chong Wei’s career as he had already announced he would retire after the Rio Olympics in July next year.

He said the panel would deliver its decision on the same day or two to three days after the hearing.

He also said that April 11 would not likely see the end of the proceedings as either party (the BAM or BWF) could appeal against the decision of the panel to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Zurich.

“We are seeking an order to lift the ban for his (Chong Wei’s) immediate return to international tournaments,” said Jadadish Chandra, who confirmed that Chong Wei had been training as usual under the supervision of his coach Tey Seu Bock. – BERNAMA