Thursday, May 23, 2013

Change or get left behind

MALAYSIA'S embarrassing 3-2 defeat to Germany, which dumped them out of the Sudirman Cup on Tuesday, is confirmation of the sorry state badminton is in as far as new Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin is concerned.

And with that he called for the BA of Malaysia (BAM) to take a more serious look into changes to its system, particularly the development sector which struggles to create a sustainable pool of top class players able to challenge the world's best.

The ministry, set to take a more serious view in addressing the entire structure of sports from the grassroots upwards, is not about to sit back and leave the BAM to its own devices.
"If we want to continue calling ourselves giants of badminton, then we cannot allow the sport to be left in this state," said Khairy yesterday.

"We have just one player performing consistently at the top level -- Lee Chong Wei. We can't be giants of the sport if we have just one top player every generation.
"China have three or four players in the world's top 10 and they have more coming. If we want to challenge them, don't we need to be producing the same?

"If we are not able to produce the players, then we need to find out why and make the necessary changes."

Khairy said he expects a report from BAM on the matter before charting the ministry's next step to address the decline of badminton.
He stressed that the ministry wishes not to be involved in BAM's internal affairs, while at the same time not shirking responsibility.

"By changes I don't mean we are going to call for resignations or such. We cannot get involved in the running of BAM, but we will look into ways to assist in areas where the ministry can play a role," said Khairy.

"BAM has to first take responsibility and be accountable for the state of the sport. You can blame the players or the coach, but at the end of the day the association is the one responsible for putting them there.

"The BAM is in charge of the system in the sport that produces the players and in turn the result. They are responsible for it, so if there is something wrong with the system, we have to look into changes to it.
"We first have to look at the report to see what they have to say and study how we can arrest the problem."

Khairy had earlier met Moto3 world championship rider Mohd Zulfahmi Khairuddin at his office.
The minister was briefed on the rider's progress and the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) development programme which sees Amirul Hafiq Azmi and Husni Aizat Abdul Malik competing in the Spanish CEV Moto3 Championship this weekend.

Zulfahmi, 21, also represents the ministry as a KBS Youth Icon to promote development of youth through sports and healthy activities.

Moto3 rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin meets up with Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin at his office yesterday. Pic by Effendy Rashid


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