KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — No such thing as being biased or special treatment in selecting junior shuttlers to represent the country, said Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) youth development director Datuk Misbun Sidek.
He stressed that even his nephew, Muhammad Fazriq Mohamad Razif, needed to prove himself and compete with other players for a place in the National Junior Squad.
“There is no family sentiment. In selecting players, we should not be biased, what is important is to go by merit, it is up to their own capabilities how they are placed in a team.
“I prefer if everyone takes the opportunity, we will assess and we will choose the best to represent Malaysia. In fact, there are several other players who are naturally talented, what we have to do is to hone and develop the talent,” he told reporters at the Badminton Academy of Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara here.
Nevertheless, Misbun saw big potential in his 16-year-old nephew, whom he believed had special talents to be an excellent player in the future.
Muhammad Fazriq, son of former national doubles champion Razif Sidek, is considered a prospect for the future of badminton in the country, after he aced both the men’s singles and doubles categories in the National Junior Circuit Grand Prix Badminton Finals last year.
When met, he told Bernama that he never received any special treatment when training under his uncle and wants to prove his worth.
“I feel lucky being under his (Misbun) coaching and I hope I will be able to learn from him, as he has produced many national champions before such as Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Muhammad Hafiz Hashim. So I will put my effort into training under him and learn as much as I can,” he explained.
Muhammad Fazriq is targeting to qualify by merit to make a debut in the World Junior Championship in Auckland, New Zealand next year (January 11-24).
The championship was initially scheduled on September 28-October 11 this year but was postponed due to Covid-19.
Currently ranked 10th in the world’s junior men’s doubles and 21st in the men’s singles, the youth has yet to decide whether to specialise in the doubles or singles event.
“So far, I have not thought about it, but I will do my best in both events. Give me a year or two to see the development and make a decision,” he said adding that his father had advised him to play for both events for now, since he was still young and has a lot of energy.
“Actually, I am more interested in playing doubles like my father did, but I still enjoy playing both events,” he added. — Bernama