Rashid Sidek: Malaysia have strong Thomas Cup team

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Rashid Sidek (left) and Rozman Razak, as well as Tommy Sugiarto (middle) are new additions to the AirAsia Badminton Academy. (photo: Muhd Asyraf Sawal)

Kuala Lumpur: Chances for the national badminton squad to qualify for the semifinals of the Thomas Cup competition appear to be brighter, according to former national chief coach, Rashid Sidek.

He said the line-up of players, led by national champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei, was the best made by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) for the final round in Kunshan, China from May 15 to 22.Rashid Sidek (left) and Rozman Razak, as well as Tommy Sugiarto (middle) are new additions to the AirAsia Badminton Academy. (photo: Muhd Asyraf Sawal)

“To me, this may be the best decision by BAM although there are dissatisfactions among players especially those seen to be more qualified in terms of rankings and current performance.

“Chances to be in the semi-final certainly look good. But if the BAM targets to make it to the final, the line-up is not like this. The line-up must be better,” he told reporters after the announcement of two new chief coaches, one for singles and the other for doubles, for the AirAsia Badminton Academy, here today.

The national Thomas Cup squad is made up of four men’s singles players led by Chong Wei, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Chong Wei Feng, Goh Soon Huat and three doubles pairs — Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong, Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong and Teo Ee Yi/Ong Yew Sin.

Malaysia is drawn in group C together with South Korea, England and Germany, while the defending champion Jepun, is drawn with China, France and Mexico in group A.

Meanwhile, at the announcement ceremony today, Rashid and Rosman Razak were appointed the new head coach for the singles and doubles players respectively in a joint-venture with Sports Affairs Academy.

Sports Affairs managing director, Raezal Hussein said the joint-venture with the AirAsia Badminton Academy aimed to provide professional guidance to the junior and elite players to produce the best badminton players for the nation.

“It is a strategic cooperation in the efforts to develop the country’s badminton sports. Our objectives at the Sports Affairs and AirAsia Badminton Academy are also the same and Rashid himself had opened the door for the cooperation,” he said.

The AirAsia Badminton Academy had trained more than 250 players since it was formed in 2012.

— Bernama

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