KUALA LUMPUR: Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has set a target for the national team to reach at least the semi-final in the upcoming Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships (BAMTC) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Feb 14 until 19.
BAM high performance director Dr Tim Jones also hoped to see the star-studded squad top Group B, which includes India, Kazakhstan and hosts, UAE.
While India might be considered a ‘thorn in the flesh’ at the group stage, Jones believed that the national shuttlers have what it takes to overcome their strongest opponent in the tournament to be held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre.
“We need to get a lot of analysis done on Indian pairs, and those players, we know them quite well, we’ve got a good history against some of the Indian players, so we still feel confident.
“Obviously we want to try to top the group to make the draw easy for us to get through to the semi-final. We can’t afford to have a shaky result in the group stage as we need to win every game,” he told reporters here, today.
Among the big names to represent Malaysia at the BAMTC are men’s singles professional ace, Lee Zii Jia, reigning men’s doubles world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, national top women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah and former Youth Olympics women’s singles gold medallist Goh Jin Wei.
Meanwhile, Jones said BAM would help Zii Jia build his confidence during the centralised training camp which begins next week, following a series of poor results that saw the player failing to clear the early stages in the Malaysia Open, India Open and Indonesia Masters.
On the other hand, the former National Sports Institute (ISN) senior physiologist believed that another men’s singles shuttler in the squad, Leong Jun Hao, would perform to his best in Dubai after he was sent packing in the qualifying round of the Thailand Masters yesterday, losing 22-24, 19-21 to independent player Yeoh Seng Zoe, in an all Malaysian affair.
“It was unfortunate to see yesterday’s result for Jun Hao but I think we see that recently, a bad performance can spur them to have a better performance later on.
“If you look at Aaron-Wooi Yik and Pearly-Thinaah for example, they didn’t have a favourable result in the last Malaysia Open but then they can bounce back. I think Jun Hao is a fighter and he is someone who can raise his ability up to his level,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jones said the one-week centralised training camp was enough for all players to form a good chemistry, as all the professional shuttlers that were called up for the BAMTC were previously part of BAM.
Malaysia have never won the tournament, losing in the quarter-finals of the first edition in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2017, and bowed out at the same stage in the 2019 edition in Hong Kong. - Bernama