KUALA LUMPUR: The days of senior shuttlers Soniia Cheah (pic) and Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean are numbered if they do not buck up.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria says Soniia, Mei Kuan-Meng Yean have until the Tokyo Olympic Games to prove themselves in the national women’s squad.
Their names have been included in the Project ‘24 squad although they have not won anything major last year.
“The reason why we retained Soniia and Mei Kuan-Meng Yean, although they have been unsatisfactory, is because they are on course to qualify for the Olympics, ” explained Norza.
World No. 31 Soniia trains under Datuk Tey Seu Bock while world No. 15 Mei Kuan-Meng Yean are coached by Rosman Razak.
“I have told Seu Bock and Rosman that it will be the end of their players if they can’t turn them into medal contenders. I do not want these players to go to the Olympics as mere passengers, ” he said.
“We’ll have another reshuffle after the Olympic qualifying ends. Then, we will keep only players aged 22, who have the potential to be world beaters.
“But it’s not all over for the shuttlers even if we drop them. They can always start afresh as professionals.
“We have seen how the two ‘engines’ – the national team and independent group – moving together last year. It has resulted in a healthy rivalry.
“In fact, we may even have two maximum pairs qualifying for Tokyo Olympics in the men (Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong) and mixed doubles (Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying).”
Norza said he has had enough of Malaysia making up the numbers in two major tournaments – Sudirman Cup (world mixed team championship) and Uber Cup – because the lack of qualify women players.
“It’s about time that we fast track the development of our women’s players to make our presence felt in Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup, ” said Norza after witnessing the sponsorship signing ceremony between 100Plus and men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia yesterday.
Source: The Star Online