DESIRE: Choong Hann believes players must push harder to win titles
THE BA of Malaysia's (BAM) generous world ranking incentive and match bonus will only bear fruit if the national shuttlers cultivate a desire to achieve success.
Former international Wong Choong Hann, who enjoyed the benefits of the world ranking incentive and match bonus during his playing days, feels that the onus is on the players to earn quality results rather than settling for the minimum perks offered by BAM.
Choong Hann was one of the earliest players to receive as high as RM45,000 quarterly for being ranked among the top two in the men's singles and had also raked in lucrative match bonuses by consistently reaching the finals of grand prix events.
The current incentive system rewards singles shuttlers in the top 16 and pairs in the top 12 while players who reach at least the quarter-finals in an international event, including junior tournaments, receive match bonuses.
The highest on the list is RM1 million for an Olympic gold while World Championships' winners can earn RM50,000. Shuttlers can also earn more than RM30,000 from other tournaments based on their results.
"I don't want to go into the details of the scheme but the choice is with the players — are they are satisfied with reaching the quarter-finals or being ranked No 16 and collecting the minimum monetary incentives or should they push hard to win international honours. By winning, they earn full prize money as well as BAM incentives," said Choong Hann during Maybank's Smash and Donate charity badminton event at Juara Stadium yesterday.
"If they set themselves very low standards, it is not going to help them in any way. They will feel the pinch when they retire as nothing much is left for them to continue with a decent life.
"It is important to win titles to make our career meaningful and under the current system, it is also rewarded."
Another former international, Kwan Yoke Meng said the current batch of players have been living comfortably by achieving the minimum requirements set by BAM.
Yoke Meng felt BAM can make changes to the incentive scheme where players achieve bigger rewards for major events while a bigger amount should be offered when they win other titles.
"At the moment, only Lee Chong Wei has been earning under the incentive scheme on merit while there are players who receive a good income from BAM despite not being able to win titles," said Yoke Meng.
"Since players can earn a good sum by reaching quarter-finals, they are easily satisfied and the mediocre results will continue.
"BAM should increase rewards for players who win titles.
"I believe offering RM50,000 for the World Championships is insufficient as this is the most important badminton event after the Olympics."
Yoke Meng urged BAM to come up with an attractive but challenging incentive scheme where winners are rewarded handsomely while laggards will be forced to work harder.
Choong Hann and Yoke Meng were among the former and current internationals who took part in the charity event to raise funds for the Selayang Hospital's Liver Transplant Centre.