Singapore: With the 2015 SEA Games on home soil only six months away, Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) chief executive officer Ronnie Lim said the heat is on for the national shuttlers to perform, and that it would be a “disaster” if they do not better the one bronze won at the 2013 Games in Myanmar.
The SBA is known to not be afraid to take drastic measures in a bid to improve the national team, and Lim said much has been invested in the team to do well in front of a home crowd next year.
A coaching overhaul made this January saw the departure of singles coach Luan Ching and doubles coach Yoo Yong Sung, replaced by new chief coach Liu Qingdong, Liu Fan (singles) and Jiang Yanmei (doubles), and Ding Chao, who will oversee the national team’s feeder programme, the National Intermediate Squad (NIS).
“If we are not able to perform better than the 2013 SEA Games, then it is just disastrous,” said Lim yesterday on the sidelines of the SBA Distinguished Visitors’ Programme event at the Sports Hub.
The programme engages renowned coaches, players and functional experts in the sport to help critique coaching methodologies and make suggestions on how to improve the national team, and kicked off with Badminton World Federation (BWF) president Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen.
The Dane, a two-time All-England champion who also won the 1996 Olympic men’s singles gold, gave a talk to about 50 NIS shuttlers.
“The challenge has always been there for our national shuttlers to do better … and that is our lowest benchmark,” added Lim, who noted there have been pay-offs in the SBA’s efforts, which include the Players’ Individual Training Plan implemented to help shuttlers set training objectives, and allow for regular reviews of each player.
“There have been pretty good results this year. We qualified for both the Thomas Cup and the Uber Cup for the first time in the same year, and achieved historic medals at the Commonwealth Games,” he added, referring to Derek Wong’s silver at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and a bronze in the mixed team event.
“Our NIS programme is also doing good. We moved our office to Sports Hub last week, and are also training here now. Being in a more central location with good facilities, we also hope to attract more people in the programme,” said Lim.
“We also have to understand the constraints of our national team. Whoever comes on board needs to value-add and raise the overall standard of the team. Sometimes, we need foreign-born players too, and we are not closed off to that idea.”