PETALING JAYA, May 29 (Bernama) — Former national doubles ace Razif Sidek feels the huge gap between China and Malaysia may turn out to be a major hurdle for our shuttlers to win gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics.
"In my opinion, when we compare our physical, tactical and management system with China, there is a vast difference. In fact, China are in a class of their own.
"Something is not right or there is something that we do not know because since former doubles specialist Li Yongbo took over as the Chinese head coach 15 years ago, they have been at the peak ever since," he told reporters here Friday.
He added that the gap was evident during Malaysia’s 0-3 loss to China in the semi-finals of the Sudirman Cup held in Guangzhou two weeks ago.
"We need to learn how China remains a power for the past 15 years. Why not appoint former world class Chinese players as coaches here so as to help reduce the disparity," he said.
Razif, winner of a bronze medal in the men’s doubles of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics with his brother Jalani was also part of the Malaysian team that won the Thomas Cup in 1992.
He added that during that period, Malaysia had three Chinese coaches who had a good knowledge of how the Chinese players were preparing and helped our players with such information.
"I don’t think we can match that era now and to do that we need the expertise of Chinese coaches or ex-players," he said.
Razif said he was not questioning the credibility or integrity of the current coaches in the country or even from Indonesia but Malaysia must look at a training system for the future, one that can help improve and sustain for 10 to 15 years.
China are now a superpower in badminton, simply too strong for the others, because they have many world class players, both in the men and women events, compared with other countries, he said.
Though Datuk Lee Chong Wei is currently the world number one men’s singles player, he continues to be overshadowed by China’s Lin Dan who has won all the prestigious tournaments including the Olympics, All England and World Championships.
Asked if Malaysia would be able to win a gold medal at the London Olympics, Razif was skeptical if Chong Wei can fulfill that expectation since he will be 30 by then.
"Is our training system and strategy able to fulfill that dream and are our players willing to try with full commitment to achieve that success," he asked.
Can the current batch of players show the kind of commitment displayed by our veteran pair Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah who despite being on their own, were able to beat 2007 All England champions Koo Kien Kiat-Tan Boon Heong at the Pahang Open yesterday, he asked.