KUALA LUMPUR: A big scale motivation camp for the badminton players will be held at Taman Negara in Pahang from March 12-15.
It is aimed at uniting and inspiring the team in preparation for the four major tournaments this year – Thomas Cup Finals (May), Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (July), World Championships in Copenhagen (August) and the Asian Games in Incheon (September).
The camp will be held just days after the All-England (from March 4-9) so that all the shuttlers, including Olympic Games silver medallists Lee Chong Wei, can take part.
Independent players are expected to join the motivation camp – only if they are successful in a selection trial soon.
On Thursday, all the national coaches had a meeting with the National Sports Institute (NSI) team to discuss about the camp and they came out with several proposals.
The NSI’s sports science experts, especially the psychologists, will be heavily involved in the running of the four-day camp.
The team are now awaiting the endorsement from the BAM executive committee.
BAM general manager Kenny Goh said that the NSI team “will be running the show to lift the morale of the team”.
“For now, the NSI team have proposed to have it (the camp) after the All-England and they’ve recommended Taman Negara. All the players who have been earmarked for the four majors will attend this camp,” said Kenny.
“In the past, the lack of unity was cited as one the reasons for our team’s failure in major events. We hope to strengthen the camaraderie among the shuttlers ahead of this hectic season.”
Asked what about the independent shuttlers like Misbun Ramdan Misbun, Zulfadli Zulkifli, Tan Chun Seang, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, who are also eyeing for places in the Thomas Cup squad, Kenny said: “They will be invited if they get selected.”
National singles coach Rashid Sidek is looking forward to the camp.
“Besides the Thomas Cup Finals, there is the mixed team event at the Commonwealth Games and the men and women’s team events in the Asian Games. Team unity will be one of the keys to success,” said Rashid.
“Some countries have a more balanced strength in their teams but I believe, with team unity, we can pull off the impossible.”
Malaysia lack depth in the men’s team and are over-reliant on Chong Wei. They are also out of their depth in the women’s team.
For the record, Malaysia last won the Thomas Cup in 1992 at Stadium Negara. Rashid was then a member of the team, who showed great fighting spirit en route to beating strong nations like China and Indonesia for the Cup.
In the Commonwealth Games, Malaysia last won the mixed team title at the 2010 edition in New Delhi.
Malaysia have never won a men or women’s team title in the Asian Games.