Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rashid stays confident

THOMAS CUP: Coach believes Malaysia will make semi-finals

NATIONAL men’s singles coach Rashid Sidek is not pushing the panic button yet, despite having a couple of injured shuttlers for  the Thomas Cup Finals in New Delhi on May 18-25.

In fact, Rashid — who has been appointed as project leader by the BA of Malaysia (BAM) — is confident the team have  what it takes to make the semi-finals in India.

National No 2 Chong Wei Feng had to skip the ongoing Badminton Asia Championships (BAC) in South Korea after suffering stiffness to his hip and thigh muscles, while third singles Liew Daren has just recovered from a nagging heel injury.

“Wei Feng has been undergoing rehabilitation and some light training. There is still time before the Thomas Cup, and we are monitoring him closely.

“I must admit, our chances of winning the cup is very slim but we can still make the semi-finals,” Rashid said.

Malaysia are in Group C with Germany, South Korea and India.

When asked if the national team could top the group, with the Koreans looking very strong in the men’s doubles, Rashid said: “It won’t be easy, but our main focus is to top the group, before thinking of clearing the quarter-finals next.”

Rashid  confirmed that there would be no changes to the last available slot for the fourth singles.
 “We already have three confirmed players for the men’s singles and there is one last slot that could be filled by an independent shuttler.”

Independent shuttlers Misbun Ramdan  Misbun and Zulfadli Zulkifli, who failed to attend BAM’s open trials last month, will get another chance to make the team at the second  trial in Bukit Kiara on April 28-30.

The two will play each other, and the winner will then square off with national back-up Goh Soon Huat for the final spot.

The confirmed men’s singles are World No 1 Lee Chong Wei, Wei Feng and Daren.

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