KUALA LUMPUR: National singles coach Misbun Sidek is ready to pinch players from the lower level — either schools or state junior programmes — if he sees potential in them to excel.
And he hopes that he will get the blessings to do so from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
Currently, the BAM only promote players to the national team after they have gone through the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) and national back-up programmes.
Misbun said that he could not afford to wait any more, not when expectations are getting heavier on badminton to deliver at the Olympics on a regular basis.
Currently, he sees national No. 1 and Beijing Olympics silver medallist Lee Chong Wei as the only singles player with the potential to strike a medal again in the 2012 London Olympics.
“I am currently working towards two cycles of Olympics. While I am getting players ready for the London Games, I am also keeping an eye on talent for the 2016 Olympics,” said Misbun after the National Sports Convention at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.
“To do this, I cannot wait for players to be promoted to the national team as how it is being done now. If I see a 14-year-old player with potential, I will make a recommendation for him to be brought into the national team.
“With few years of exposure in the training centre, this youngster can be ready to fight for honours in major tournaments.”
And Misbun also hoped that parents would be supportive of his plans.
“Sometimes, parents of talented players are very protective. My father (the late Datuk Sidek Kamar) brought up all my brothers but he knew the time to let us go to gain a higher level of exposure,” said Misbun.
He felt that giving young talent immediate exposure would solve the present woes of depending only on one or two singles players.
“We now depend only on Chong Wei. I still have yet to see players who can stomach the tough training in the national camp,” said Misbun.
On the multi-million centre of excellence for the national badminton players approved by Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Misbun was delighted: “This is a great boost for us. All of us can train under one roof.”