IT may not be a big deal to many but distance is definitely a factor to be considered by the national badminton squad ahead of their Philippines Sea Games mission later this month.
BA of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director, Wong Choong Hann told Timesport the players must be prepared to travel for more than an hour each time they leave their hotel to get to the Muntinlupa Sports Complex where badminton events are scheduled on Nov 30-Dec 11.
“Players travel all the time but being on the road for more than an hour each time we leave the hotel to get to the venue can be taxing,” Choong Hann said yesterday.
“Having said that, the key to doing well is to empty your mind. The players need to separate their thoughts from their feelings.
“It’s easier said than done, because every person is different but that is the only way to condition yourselves,” added the 42-year-old former international.
Choong Hann is also confident Malaysia can achieve their target of two gold medals following the players’ recent good showing at the Fuzhou China Open.
Top men’s doubles, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, and mixed doubles, Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie did well to reach the semi-finals of the BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament.
Choong Hann was especially pleased with some of the players who defeated opponents that are considered favourites for the biennial Games in Manila.
“Yes, the China Open was a good outing for our Sea Games bound players. Not only did they beat some of the favourites, now they also have that sense of self belief that they can actually do it.
“However, like I said earlier, they must empty their thoughts and go again. Ride on the confidence but know that every tournament starts from scratch,” said the former World No 1, who is also a two-time Sea Games gold medal winner with the men’s team (2001 and 2005).
The Malaysian men’s team have been handed a favourable draw, where they open their campaign against the host in the first round and are slated to play Singapore in the last four.
On the other hand, the women’s team face Cambodia in the first round, but are likely to meet favourites Thailand in the semi-finals.
The Hong Kong Open and the Malaysia International Challenge (Kangar) that starts today will be the national players’ last tournament before they head to Manila for the Games.