By LIM TEIK HUAT
KUALA LUMPUR: It would have been a foregone conclusion two months ago but the shoulder injury sustained by Lee Wan Wah during the Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta last week could now pave the way for Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Latif to earn an unexpected debut appearance in the Beijing Olympics.
While the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) would have no qualms choosing the two doubles pairs for the Olympics based on world ranking positions and experience, the injury to Wan Wah has put them in a spot.
Wan Wah-Tan Fook and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, who are ranked fourth and fifth respectively, have qualified for the Olympics along with Fairuzizuan-Zakry.
However, Malaysia can only enter two pairs for the Olympics and a decision will have to be made before the end of this month.
The BAM coaching and training committee in a meeting yesterday decided that all three doubles pairs must now undergo a medical test before any final decision is made next week.
BAM president Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Salleh, who later chaired a separate council meeting, said they have to look at all the aspects first before making a final decision on which pair to pick.
“We decided first that all three pairs must now go for a physical and medical check-up. We have to look at their physical level to see whether they are ready to sustain the challenges of a competition.
“We do not want anyone to go there if they have any medical or physical issues,” said Nadzmi.
Wan Wah-Tan Fook have already competed in two previous Olympics and would have been seen as the better candidates and considering they are set to enjoy a seeding status in Beijing.
But with an old injury back to haunt Wan Wah, there is a possibility that they would not go if the medical report suggests they are not in good condition.
If that is the case, Fairuzizuan and Zakry will be in a better position to take up the Olympic spot. The pair, who also qualified by virtue of being in the top 16 of the world rankings by the end of last month, put up a good show in their debut appearance in the Thomas Cup Finals.
They kept the team in the hunt by beating China’s second ranked pair of Guo Zhendong-Xie Xhongbo in straight games in the semi-finals but their efforts were wasted when Malaysia eventually lost the tie 2-3 after Mohd Hafiz Hashim fell tamely to Chen Jin.
Nadzmi said they also needed to look at other factors too.
“It is not just the physical aspects but we also want to look at factors like their readiness, ranking positions and past performances. Any final decision will be guided by the recommendation of the coaches,” added Nadzmi.