Friday, 3 February 2012

HPT assure long-term plan to get Malaysian badminton back on track

KUALA LUMPUR: A long term plan to get Malaysian badminton back on track will take precedence after the London Olympic Games in August.

This was the assurance given by Wong Ah Jit, one of the three members of the High Performance Team (HPT) set up by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to oversee the Olympic-bound shuttlers.
Ah Jit said the existing coaching and training structure was fine but was lacking in some procedural matters.

No time to relax: South Korean coach Yoo Yong-sung putting two Malaysian doubles players through their paces during centralised training for the Thomas Cup qualifiers on Monday. — AHMAD IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star
“The next six months will give us time to strengthen the Olympic-bound team’s preparations. Along the way, we will be able to look at the big picture on what is required to improve the current set-up,” said Ah Jit.
“We don’t need a major revamp. What we need is to put right the procedure of doing things. Dealing with the current Olympic-bound team will enable us to re-look the whole process.

“I understand the public’s disappointment over the lack of talent coming through. The current cycle will end with the London Games and, by then, we will have the necessary information to make the required changes to improve things.”

Ah Jit said while one should not change for the sake of changing, measures needed to be taken to ensure that there would be a continuous pool of talented players to win honours for the country.

“We formed a project squad to prepare teams for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. It was a great success as Malaysia won 10 gold medals. What happened after that? The project squad were disbanded and new ones were created. Why change when the previous structure had proven to be successful? It will be better to strengthen the existing programme.”

Ah Jit, who is from the National Sports Institute (NSI), hoped badminton would eventually become a role model for other sports in the country.

“Currently, badminton enjoys the most support. It has about 11 personnel from NSI on a full-time basis assisting in various areas while four others have been commissioned to help out. The players are also supported by coaches and administrators. Most teams abroad bank on a similar system like those in AIS (Australia Institute of Sports) and EIS (England Institute of Sports),” he said.

“We are moving in the right direction. For now, we cannot assure anyone of overnight success but we can work out a better plan for the future to raise standards. The next six months will help us identify the areas that need immediate attention.

“For now, our focus is to ensure that nothing deters the Olympic-bound team’s preparations.”


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