Teen trio have to hit the ground running

here will be no time to learn to crawl, walk and then run. Malaysia’s young shuttlers have to just go out and start sprinting at full tilt.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann has thrown down the gauntlet to Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin (pic), Ng Tze Yong and Lim Chong King.

He wants the three 19-year-olds, the youngest members of the national men’s singles department, to break into the world’s top 60 and start challenging for fourth and fifth tier World Tour tournaments.

“Like it or not, they have to continue to push even harder. They can’t afford any time to take a breather as time waits for no one, ” said Choong Hann.

“In their rookie year, the three either made it to finals and won titles at some satellite-level tournaments and that’s commendable.

“But that’s not enough. They must raise their benchmark, hopefully we’ll be seeing them break into the top 60 and start to contend regularly in the Super 100 (fifth tier) and even Super 300 (fourth tier) tournaments.”

Choong Hann added that while he can’t fault the commitment and effort shown by the three youngsters in training, he stressed that they must prove their worth through tournament performances.

“The training centre is not a reflection of their strengths, and they should realise that, ” said Choong Hann.

“The tournaments, especially the higher-level ones are the true tests. That is where we can gauge their true performance.”

Promoted early this year, Aidil, Tze Yong and Chong King are considered the third liners in the national men’s singles squad.

Of the three, Chong King is arguably the best, having qualified for two finals. He won the Hellas Open in Greece in July and finished as runner-up in the Sydney International in September

Tze Yong emerged triumphant at the Australia International in September. He also impressed by making the semi-finals of the Indonesian International Challenge.

Aidil is still without a title but he finished as runner-up to Chong King in Greece before reaching the Bulgarian Open semi-finals the following week.

Chong King and Aidil will have a chance to step up and meet Choong Hann’s targets when they make their SEA Games debut in the Philippines.

They were picked ahead of their seniors Cheam June Wei and Leong Jun Hao.

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