KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — The line-up of young national badminton players need to vie aggressively to prove themselves if they want to close the performance gap with the stars of the world.
National champion, Datuk Lee Chong Wei said that only an attitude of never being content could help them go much further on the international stage.
‘‘We are now left too far behind by those players on the international stage and the gap will grow much wider if there is no effort by the national players.
‘‘It is still not too late for the players to be more competitive to close the gap provided they don’t regard themselves as already in the comfortable zone only by being in the national squad,’’ said the former world’s number one player.
Without Chong Wei, who is still waiting for the green light to return to active competition after his nose cancer treatment, it is clear that no national singles player is capable of taking the opportunity to stand out.
Among the young players in the national squad were the winner of the bronze medal at the 2016 World Junior Championship, Lee Zii Jia, Cheam June Wei and Tan Jia Wei.
According to Chong Wei, the situation Malaysia was facing currently was the same as what had transpired in Indonesia when their star, Taufik Hidayat hung up his racket in 2013.
As soon as Taufik retired, Indonesia, which all these while had a great singles star suddenly was bereft of a feared player.
‘‘Only since lately, we see they already have players who are beginning to be feared such as Jonatan Christie and Anthony Ginting,” he said.
He also said the number of national singles player at only eight could make them feel comfortable as the opportunity to participate in international competitions was easier.
This, he said, was different when the squad had 16 players, which resulted in every one needing to prove his mettle to eye a chance to perform in competitions.
In addition, Chong Wei said the players must also continue to work hard themselves and not just depend on the input of the coaches.
To him, even the availability of the best coach would still not help if the player himself was not keen to boost his performance.
‘‘The contribution of the coach is only five per cent on court while 90 per cent comes from the player himself. The rest is luck.
‘‘So, the player themselves should know what they want to do,’’ he said.
According to Chong Wei, the players must not be carried away by praises that they had a big potential.
To him, all players had potential but what was important was how they maximised the advantages to become the best. — Bernama