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BADMINTON: Split to be official today


THE impending split of men's doubles pair Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong should be confirmed by the the BA of Malaysia (BAM) executive committee (exco) today but the bigger decision is whether the parent body will hire South Korean Park Joo Bong as a chief coach.

Kien Keat and Boon Heong have agreed to permanently partner Lim Khim Wah and Goh V Shem respectively in January.

However, they will be tested in grand prix events over the next three months.

In the meantime, the BAM exco is also expected to approve the decision by the coaches to allow Kien Keat-Boon Heong to play in super series tournaments until the end of the year after the duo made an appeal.

However, the exco is expected to be firm and will inform Kien Keat-Boon Heong that there will be no turning back in January and that they must play with their new partners if they wish to be part of the national team.

But the major issue will be whether to hire Joo Bong as his salary may be an obstacle, but the exco knows that BAM is cash rich, and if it wants to win Olympic gold in 2016, it must be ready to spend.

Hiring Joo Bong early would give him time to work on the restructuring of the national team by working with the coaches rather than the BAM management making all the decisions.

If Joo Bong is hired, he should be given absolute authority to run the national team and will be responsible for the success or failure of both the players and coaches.

The target is to win gold in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and with clear goals and the mandate, Joo Bong could be tempted to do a second stint in Malaysia.

It could also be better to have a rethink on the 2016 project squad where the elite squad have not been included in the programme.

If the back-up and elite squads are under one umbrella, they could work better to achieve the gold target in 2016.

Also, the younger players will benefit from training with the likes of Lee Chong Wei and as well Kien Keat and Boon Heong.

The 2020 project squad should not be a problem as the core of the squad is attached to the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) and one of the coaches there can be in charge.

Kwan Yoke Meng and Kol (rtd) Wong Ah Jit have been proposed by the coaching and training committee to be the 2020 and 2016 project managers respectively.

While Yoke Meng can contribute as the 2020 project manager, it will be tough for Ah Jit as the national senior players may not like taking orders from a person who is not linked with badminton.

Ah Jit, due to his vast experience as a squash administrator and his role as coordinator for the 2012 Olympics with the National Sports Institute, may still be useful as a team manager but what the 2016 squad need badly is a chief coach.

Players like Chong Wei, Kien Keat and Boon Heong would prefer taking orders from a reputed chief coach and Joo Bong fits the bill.

Coaches Wong Tat Meng and Cheah Soon Kit are also being considered but their roles have not been decided.

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