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.