KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei is now accessible to all, including to students of the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) badminton programme.
Previously, Chong Wei was “out of bounds” for the students in terms of sparring sessions.
All that is expected to change under a new training set-up initiated by the newly-appointed Talent Management Group (TMG) director Tan Aik Mong.
Now, the national team have three main groups – elite shuttlers, back-up and the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) players. There are 121 players and they train under 28 coaches and at different times. There are also two coaches in every state under the payroll of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
Aik Mong said he would brainstorm with the 28 coaches to come out with the best formula to facilitate the new set-up.
“Currently, all the players are divided into different groups. Small group of coaches are handing small teams. They are doing their own thing and are not like a family. I want to turn the whole training structure into a family unit,” said Aik Mong.
“I would like to break these 121 players into three or four big groups. Then, I will discuss with the national coaches and Razif Sidek (the head of the independent assessors’ unit) on what is the best formula to manage them.
“Each team will consist a mix of players. It can be elite to Form 1 players. Can you imagine if there is a Form 1 student in the same team with Chong Wei. He gets to see, train and even spar with Chong Wei once in a while. It will really excite and inspire him.
“This is one of the ways to create the interest and improve the standard of the game. In the past, these players – especially the younger ones had no chance to spar with the top players.
“And I plan to elect a captain for each team. All these captains will have meetings with me. They can channel any problems directly to me – like issues on family, social, the game itself and psychology ... anything. We have all the expertise and we will see how best we can help them.”