Tan Boon Heong keeps options open on playing for Malaysia at Thomas Cup

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Tan Boon Heong and Hendra Setiawan were ranked World No. 20 at the end of 2017. (photo: AP)
Tan Boon Heong and Hendra Setiawan were ranked World No. 20 at the end of 2017. (photo: AP)

Kuala Lumpur: The 31-year-old and former World No. 1 men’s doubles player Tan Boon Heong has not ruled out a return to Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to join the Malaysian Thomas Cup squad.

Speaking to Malaysian media, however, due to the conflict of sponsorship, he may not be able to commit to BAM completely.

Tan is being sponsored by Yonex and BAM is sponsored by another major badminton equipment manufacturer, Victor. Tan would have to give up his partnership with Yonex if he is to join BAM.

“Frankly, I still would like to represent the country. However, given my commitment to my personal sponsor, I am not able to join BAM in a long-term basis,” said Tan.

“That’s why I’ve rejected their offer at the end of February, and I haven’t heard back from them since. Therefore, I am not sure if I am still being considered for the Malaysian Thomas Cup team,” added Tan.

“At the end of the day, it’s really all up to BAM. But I am ready to serve the country if my service is needed.”

His partner during the 2017 season, Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia, had said that Tan’s return to the Malaysian Thomas Cup could strengthen the Malaysian men’s doubles department.

“Tan has great attacking and strong defensive skill, and he is definitely one of a top men’s doubles players in the world,” said Setiawan.

At the same time, BAM’s secretary-general Ng Chin Chai also told Malaysian reporters that BAM has yet to finalize the player list, therefore, everything is still open.

“At the moment, no decision has been made. We will decide the final roster list in May, and players will be notified by then,” said Ng.

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