THE national back-up singles shuttlers have shown some improvement in the Malaysia Open and the ongoing Korea Open but national singles coach Rashid Sidek is far from impressed.
Rashid had seen his charges Chong Wei Feng, Liew Daren, Arif Latif and Tan Chun Seang playing well in patches but stressed that they will never make it big if they don’t take risks to survive on the international scene.
Liew Daren failed to capitalise on the breakthrough in the Malaysia Open where he reached the last eight as he fell in the qualifying rounds to Shon Wan Ho of South Korea who went on to reach the quarter-finals in the Korea Open.
Wei Feng was fortunate to make it to the main draw on both events but has yet to reach the last eight of a Super Series event while Arif and Chun Seang are far too inconsistent despite their talent.
Rashid said that Liew Daren’s skills are on par with that of Chong Wei when he started making headway in 2003 but the difference is the risk taking attitude and the ability to battle to the end.
“The back-up players have shown marginal improvement but that is not going to take them far. The key is to take risks and have never-say-die attitude,” said Rashid.
“Chong Wei isn’t well built like Liew Daren is but he is a fighter. He doesn’t let fear cloud his thinking and he battles hard to make the early breakthrough.
“The ability to take risks will take them far. They have nothing to lose and if they play even about 80 per cent of what they produce in training, it will help.
“Most of the time, they respect their opponents too much and try to play safe. If they want to become world beaters, they must become mentally stronger and aim for big name scalps and perform consistently.”
Rashid also wants a more consistent performance from women’s singles Julia Wong and Lydia Cheah as they have been given ample exposure.
Except for Arif and Lydia, who are 20, the rest of the players are 22 and they must start utilising every opportunity to become quality internationals this year or they may never achieve their true potential.