Last chance for seniors Hafiz and Beng Hong to come good


KUALA LUMPUR: Former world champion Hendrawan has been hand­ed a mammoth task to resurrect the careers of singles shuttlers Mohd Hafiz Hashim and Kuan Beng Hong.

And if the Indonesian fails to turn them around within a stipulated time frame to be decided later on, the duo will have to kiss goodbye to their places in the national team.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) in a 1½-hour meeting with the singles coaches yesterday, chaired by their gene­ral manager, Kenny Goh, at the Jua­ra Stadium in Bukit Kiara, decided to relief Misbun Sidek of his responsibilities to train former All-England champion Hafiz and Beng Hong.

Hendrawan has agreed to give a shot at reviving their careers and with that, he will now have two major tasks to accomplish in his two-year contract with the BAM.

He also has the task to turn four elite back-up shuttlers — Tan Chun Seang, Chong Wei Feng, Liew Daren and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif — into world beaters.

The players now under the charge of Misbun are world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Chan Kwong Beng, Lok Chong Chieh and Wong Mew Choo. The women’s back-up singles players are under the charge of Teh Seu Bock.

National singles chief coach Ra­­shid Sidek said that Misbun had finally agreed to give up his rein over Hafiz and Beng Hong, who are in a slump in their badminton careers.

“The players will train together but Hafiz and Beng Hong will from now report to Hendrawan,” said Rashid.

“The BAM still acknowledge their talent and contributions. They have a chance to come good under Hendrawan if they put their heart and soul into it. But if there is no improvement, we will have no choice but to show them the exit.”

Rashid added that the singles coaches would work together and the priority now was to support Chong Wei and Mew Choo with quality sparring ahead of the World Championships, which will be held in Hyderabad from Aug 10-16.

“Just a few days ago, Hendrawan allowed Tan Chun Seang to spar with Chong Wei when Misbun requested for a left-handed player. There is a good working relationship among all the coaches,” said Rashid.

Hendrawan said that he would take up the responsibilites to train Hafiz and Beng Hong as big challenges.

“I will do my best. It is still early to give my opinion on them. Let me work with them first,” he said.

Said Kenny: “Hendrawan will draw up the programmes and set targets for them. He will also set the time frame for them to succeed. We will make decisions on their future upon receiving assessments from Hendrawan.”


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