KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19  — Buoyed by the performances of young national men’s singles players in the recent Thomas Cup, Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria has promised to give them more international exposure so that they can close the gap on All England champion Lee Zii Jia.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president said the youngsters had given a good account of themselves in the tournament in Aarhus, Denmark although Malaysia lost 3-0 to Indonesia in the quarter-finals. 

He singled out Ng Tze Yong, 21, and Leong Jun Hao, 22, for their spirited displays against more illustrious opponents.

“There were some quarters saying maybe we had not given Tze Yong and Jun Hao (enough) exposure. I want to stress that Tze Yong and Jun Hao really made us proud. They showed their capability and definitely we will give them more opportunities.

“… maybe our weakness is that we always talk about Zii Jia, Aaron (Chia) and Soh (Wooi Yik). We should reduce the gap between the other singles players, namely Tze Yong, Jun Hao and Aidil Sholeh (Ali Sadikin), and Zii Jia,” he said.

Norza, who was met after attending a virtual meeting of the SEA Games Federation (SEAGF) at Wisma OCM yesterday, said the same opportunity for exposure would be given to all men’s doubles pairs.

He said the national squad could not be relying on Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists Aaron-Wooi Yik all the time.

“This is the responsibility of the coaching panel under (Wong) Choong Hann (BAM coaching director). Don’t play safe all the time by relying on good old hands. We have to build up new players; this is the only way to taste success in the Thomas Cup and other major tournaments,” he said.

Norza also said BAM give equal treatment to all players in the national team, including the women shuttlers.

However, he stressed that all players should strive to put up consistently good performances.

“To us, falling into the cycle of winning one day and losing the next means you are not a world-class player yet. So work hard; that’s the only way (to excel),” he said, adding that BAM have to ensure their investments bring positive returns.


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