Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching and training chairman Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria is starting to get frustrated by the lack of progress being shown by shuttlers Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren.
Wei Feng has struggled since he reached the semi-finals of the Vietnam Open in August as he has failed to get past the early stages of the past five tournaments, including last week’s Macau Open, where he lost to Qiao Bin of China in the second round.
Daren meanwhile has been out of action for the past month due to a hamstring injury.
Earlier this year, the BAM decided to keep the duo as sparring partners for world number three Lee Chong Wei in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August. However, Norza wants the BAM to reconsider their decision as he believes Wei Feng and Daren have failed to live up to expectations.
“We decided to keep Wei Feng and Daren until next year’s Rio Olympic Games to help with Chong Wei’s preparation,” Norza told The Star. “But I’m not sure whether they are doing him any good.
“Many younger players from other countries have done better than Wei Feng and Daren and I’m very uncomfortable with that. We can use our younger players to spar with Chong Wei – at least that will make them hungry to achieve results for themselves too.”
In addition to Wei Feng and Daren, Norza has also been less than impressed with the performance of men’s doubles shuttlers Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong, women’s doubles shuttlers Vivian Hoo and Woon Khe Wei, and women’s singles shuttler Tee Jing Yi.
With Chong Wei the only Malaysian shuttler to taste success as of late as he triumphed at the French, China and Hong Kong Opens, Norza has his doubts about whether the rest of the Malaysian line-up will be able to have a major impact at the Olympics should they qualify for the event.
“We do not want to have mere passengers in the team for the Rio Games,” he said. “They must have the pedigree to beat the other top players in the world. I have yet to see anything great from them.
“I hope Morten will look into this and get the players to show improvement before the Rio Games.”