Choong Hann, Hendrawan on six-month quest

KUALA LUMPUR: National coaches Wong Choong Hann and Hendrawan have six months to identify a second and third national men's singles player after Ng Tze Yong.

Following Tze Yong's fast rise to the top, expectations are high for BAM to produce a couple more players to step up to the plate when the time comes.

Choong Hann, also the coaching director, acknowledged the task at hand and urged every backup player to give their 100 per cent commitment if they hope to follow in Tze Yong's footsteps.

Choong Hann said: "We are currently focused on all our in-house players. Definitely, we are paying attention to players like Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin, Lim Chong King, Leong Jun Hao and some who are transitioning from the junior level like Shaqeem Eiman Shahyar.

"We hope these players will improve and be more confident in the tournaments that we have planned for them."

The former world No 1 made it clear that Tze Yong, who won one Commonwealth Games gold and one silver in Birmingham, was not a top player from the start.

Choong Hann pointed out that the journey to becoming a world-beater is extremely challenging.

"We have been working on Tze Yong since he came to us at the age of 19. He didn't just rise to the top like that.

"But he has matured since then, and his game is stable now. This means that our programme is working, and we will continue to do what we are doing.

"The process to be a champion needs to be right and can take time. We will try our best.

"Players must also show commitment and desire to be the best because daily training can get boring and monotonous.

"They must be ready to go through the process," said Choong Hann after the BAM council meeting at Academy Badminton Malaysia in Bukit Kiara today.

Earlier, BAM president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria said the association needed to fast-track players to reach the top-level and that he had already tasked Choong Hann and Hendrawan to act on it.

Apart from world No 5 Lee Zii Jia, who left the national team in January and world No 42 Tze Yong, the only other Malaysian in the top 50 is veteran Liew Daren at No 29.

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