Monday, 15 August 2011

Malaysian Sports -When Is Ever The Right Time?

I just watched the BWF badminton world championships singles final between China's Lin Dan and our own Datuk Lee Chong Wei. Chong Wei came within a whiskers of winning the world championships for the first time for himself and for Malaysia.. In fact, he had two match points but characteristically he failed to make it against his nemesis.
Sunday StarSports (14th Aug 2011)

That is the trouble with Malaysian athletes. They do not have the mental strength to see through a game or match. Whenever they are in with a chance to wrap up a game or match, they get excited, play hurriedly or freeze.

But the reason why I am writing this post is because of what a Sunday Star newspaper sports columnist wrote in her column.

She suggested that now is not the right time to break up the doubles combination of Koo Kien Kiat and Tan Boon Heong because they are still Malaysia's best prospects in the 2012 London Olympics even though they failed to shine in the just concluded badminton world championships in London.

When is ever the right time for Malaysian sports to do something meaningful? As far as I know, the right time is always too late.

And as far as I am concerned, the Koo-Tan doubles combination should have been broken up a long time ago. The trouble is that when we did briefly try it, we never stuck to it and the pair are still together.

In fact, Koo and Tan have not been performing well as a doubles pair for a number of years now. That happened since that time a few years ago when Koo Kien Kiat promised to go bald if they won a particular tournament, but Koo only went GI instead.

Just because the pair may still be Malaysia's best hope doesn't mean we should delay doing anything, even to the extent of breaking the combination now rather than later.  What is the use of persisting with the pair if they can only go so far and not all the way. Time wasted is time lost.

Koo and Tan had their heydays when they burst into the world doubles badminton scene in 2006 when they won the Asian Games badminton doubles title in Doha in grand style. They went on to conquer all before them in 2007, winning seven tournament titles.

Subsequently, they have gone from bad to worse. And they are not getting anywhere now.

The other problem with Malaysian athletes is that once they have won something and reached the top, they can't maintain their consistency and form and so fade out fast. Another example of this sad phenomenon was singles player Hafiz Hashim who won the All-England singles in 2002 when he was only 20, and promptly faded out with all the attention and hero worship heaped on him.

There is hardly a Malaysian athlete, with the possible exception of women squash player Datuk Nicol David, who does not fit this mould of success and fast fade out. Lee Chong Wei cannot be considered a real exception because even though he has been the world's no1 singles player for the recent past years, this has been achieved largely because of the absence of his nemesis Lin Dan in several past tournaments and also because Chong Wei has yet to win any big tournaments like the world championships and the Olympics.

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