KUALA LUMPUR: Sharing ideas with a rival coach is not a norm – especially ahead of the World Championships.
But national coach Misbun Sidek had no qualms accompanying world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei to South Korea for a 10-day training and spending time together with Li Mao (pic) to evaluate the player’s strengths and weaknesses.
Misbun also laid to rest speculations about Chong Wei’s training in South Korea by stating that the stint was meant to provide the shuttler with the best preparation for the world meet, which will be held in Hyderabad, India, from Aug 10-16.
In fact, it was Misbun who did not want Chong Wei to be distracted as he prepared for the world meet.
“I cannot stop people from having an opinion or perception about this training stint in South Korea. But Chong Wei’s interest was a priority,” said Misbun.
Some speculated that the trip to South Korea was Chong Wei’s desperate bid to win the psychological war against his main rival Lin Dan of China.
It is no secret that Li Mao has a strained relationship with China and that he would not mind being part of China’s downfall.
There was also talk that Chong Wei preferred to train under Li Mao instead of Misbun.
“I approved his plan to go to South Korea so that he could stay focused on badminton. And I am quite pleased that he was able to have a solid time over there,” said Misbun.
“Li Mao and I would sit together and watch Chong Wei spar with Sung-hwan.
“He gives his opinion on Chong Wei and I share mine on Sung-hwan. It was about two coaches trying to get the best out of each other.”
Misbun admitted that it was a humbling process.
“I can keep Chong Wei all to myself if I wanted to.
“But sometimes, it is good to be open and allow others to have a say. What I want is for Chong Wei to be the world champion.”