Youngster Sonia Cheah, tipped to take over from national No. 1 Wong Mew Choo, twisted her ankle during the first day of training after the Chinese New Year break at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara yesterday.
It is unsure whether she will be able to recover in time for the National Grand Prix Finals, which will be held in Kuala Terengganu from Feb 18-21.
In the men’s singles, Liew Daren and Tan Chun Seang are both down with ankle injuries and are doubtful for the German Open (March 1-6) and All-England (March 9-13).
The worst hit, however, is former world junior doubles champion Teo Kok Siang, who suffered two injuries – knee and heel – in a month.
Kok Siang may undergo surgery and this may rule him out of action for at least six months.
This is a big blow to Kok Siang and his partner, Goh Wei Shem. The duo have worked their way up to the 21st spot in the world rankings.
Should they miss the All-England and Swiss Open (March 16-20), Kok Siang-Wei Shem’s world rankings will surely take a tumble and they can kiss goodbye to their hopes of making their debut in the World Championships, which will be held in London in August.
National coach Rashid Sidek said that injuries to the back-up shuttlers were hampering his job of helping them narrow the gap on world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.
Besides Daren and Chun Seang, Rashid is also in charge of Chong Wei Feng and Chan Kwong Beng.
“Chun Seang and Daren are players with potential, especially with their aggressive style of play. But I cannot push them in training because of their injuries. This further slows down my job to raise their standard,” said Rashid, who was quick to emphasise that “the injuries are not due to improper training programmes”.
“Injuries happen ... sometimes at the most unexpected time. Just look at what happen to Sonia today. It was just a light workout and yet she twisted her ankle,” said Rashid.
“It was the same with Daren and Chun Seang. But we are fortunate that we have good support from the NSI (National Sports Institute). We always have at least two NSI officials present during training sessions. The players are well-monitored.
Meanwhile, national back-up doubles coach Tan Kim Her said that Kok Siang, who was nursing a knee injury, hurt his ankle on the last day of training before Chinese New Year break.
“The ankle injury is a serious one. The doctors have advised him to undergo surgery and he could be out for six months,” said Kim Her.
“I have already pulled him out from the GP Finals and the All-England. Injuries like this are beyond our control. It just happens and we, as coaches, just have to make the necessary changes.”