The Table Tennis Association of Malaysia (TTAM) have hit out at the National Sports Council (NSC) for meddling in their training programme.
This issue came about after national paddlers Ho Ying and Karen Lyne, who are under the Podium Programme, were booted out of the Philippines SEA Games squad after they opted to continue training under local Podium coach Beh Lee Wei.
TTAM however want them to train with the rest of the national team in the development programme under Chinese coach Mu Tong.
The duo had initially signed an acceptance letter on Aug 13 to undergo centralised training conducted by the TTAM.
However, nine days later they signed with NSC to train under Lee Wei.
TTAM vice-president Dr Chin Kuen Liang said they had no choice but to replace the two.
“During a SEA Games selection meeting, we explained our decision to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM). There was also a representative from the NSC. And our list of players for the Games was unanimously agreed upon, ” he said.
“So, we wonder why the two players held a press conference at the NSC last week to claim that they were dropped for indiscipline.
“We feel NSC should not be involved in appointing coaches for any sport associations.
“NSC should be the facilitator and not run the training programmes.
“The sport associations should be the ones running the programmes as they have the resources and expertise.
“NSC’s recent dealings with our players are unprecedented and we feel that the appointment of coaches is our right, ” he added.
Dr Chin clarified that both players have not been suspended nor any disciplinary actions taken against them.
“They are welcome to come back to TTAM and we will prepare them for the 2020 Olympics qualification competition if they earned their place after the selection process.
“In fact, Alice Chang from the Podium Programme has accepted our offer to train with us and she is now in the Games squad, ” he said, adding that TTAM will stick to the one-bronze target despite the absence of Gold Coast Commonwealth Games doubles pair Ho Ying-Karen.
“We need to start exposing young athletes to major tournaments to achieve the objective of having a steady succession of players.
“We have been making progress since last year and the men’s team won a historic bronze at the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships in India (July).”
The squad for the SEA Games are: Mohd Ashraf Haiqal Mohd Rizal, Wong Qi Shen, Choong Javen and Amos Ling (men); Alice, Tee Ai Xin, Lim Li Ying and Lee Xin Ni.