No discounting Daren for Thomas Cup

The BA of Malaysia (BAM) have not ruled out the possibility of selecting veteran men’s singles shuttler Liew Daren for the Thomas Cup in Bangkok on May 8-15.

Commenting on a recent Timesport report, BAM singles coaching director Wong Choong Hann said: “Yes, the Timesport report is fair, and I agree that naming Daren in the squad would be a strategic move.

“However, we still have time before finalising the team. We will deliberate on this in the next couple of weeks.

“Rest assured, we want to send our strongest squad for the Thomas Cup.”

Timesport had noted that Daren, 35 is not only an experienced shuttler, but is also the country’s second-highest ranked player at world No 35, behind world No 7 Lee Zii Jia.

Daren, who recently joined Zii Jia’s independent team as assistant coach to Indonesian Indra Wijaya, regularly plays top-flight badminton.

He was a bronze medallist at the 2018 World Championships in Nanjing, China.

Zii Jia and world No 45 Ng Tze Yong are assured of places in the squad for the men’s team meet and the remaining spots will be a fight between 2017 Asian junior champion Leong Jun Hao, Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin and Daren.

Both Jun Hao and Aidil were part of the team that won the Asia Team Championships in February but have not been convincing of late, suffering early-round exits at the recent Polish Open and Orleans Masters.

Meanwhile, Choong Hann confirmed that there has been no discussion on the possibility of selecting two-time world junior champion Goh Jin Wei for the Uber Cup.

For the Thomas Cup, Malaysia are in Group D with 2014 champions Japan, England and New Zealand, while the women’s team are in Group C with hosts Thailand, Denmark and Egypt.

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