Junior shuttlers out of touch with reality – BAM president

Photo used for illustration purposes only

KUALA LUMPUR – Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria is clearly disappointed with the lacklustre performance of the national shuttlers at the 2022 Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Junior Championships in Santander, Spain recently.

He said factors such as the juniors becoming complacent with the facilities available at Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara here and living in a world of their own had resulted in them failing to realise the threat posed by other nations in the tournament.

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“Personally, we are out of touch with what is going on around the world and it’s like there is a denial syndrome in that they think we have the best facilities at BAM when, in actual fact, we are worse off than when the juniors used to train at the Bukit Jalil Sports School.

“Players and coaches must embrace a high-performance culture and realise that this is not a place to have five meals or train without a sense of accountability and responsibility because it’s not cheap,” he told a press conference after the third BAM Council meeting 2022 here, today.

Following the failure in Spain, he reminded the players and coaches including youth development director Datuk Misbun Sibek to ask themselves whether they really deserve to be at ABM.

Mohamad Norza has also given ABM chief executive officer Michelle Chai and BAM high-performance director Dr Tim Jones one month to review the structure of the junior training programme before presenting it to the BAM management committee.

For the first time, no national player qualified for the quarter-finals of the singles event at the world junior meet and the national team finished ninth in the mixed team event.

This is the second time in a row that Malaysia returned home empty-handed after a similar total capitulation in the 2019 edition in Kazan, Russia.

National badminton legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei and national professional men’s singles ace Lee Zii Jia are among those who have won medals at previous BWF World Junior Championships. – Bernama