Tuesday August 21, 2007 Misbun determined to get Chong Wei back on his feet By RAJES PAUL thestar online PETALING JAYA: Coach Misbun Sidek saw all his efforts go down the drain with Lee Chong Wei’s awful exit from the World Championships at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil last week. But he is determined to get the national number one back on his feet. Misbun admitted that Chong Wei had been emotional after the 11-21, 9-21 defeat by Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro but he knew the way to handle the player. After the defeat in the third round, Chong Wei made a shocking revelation, claiming that national chief coach Yap Kim Hock had put pressure on him in his bid to become the country’s first world champion. “Chong Wei was crying in the changing room after the defeat. He was pouring out his disappointment. I tried my best to calm him. But this is not the first time that I have seen his outburst,” said Misbun. Misbun recalled a time when Chong Wei threw his racquet in frustration when he was reprimanded for his lack of enthusiasm in training. Chong Wei was then placed under his charge after the departure of Indonesian coach Indra Gunawan in 2002. “He was ranked 137th in the world. The racquet is a weapon for players and he showed disrespect. I told him not to come for training for the next two weeks. He returned after that with renewed determination and he did well from then on,” he said. “He also cried after losing to Chen Hong (of China) in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Chong Wei’s outbursts are rare but when it happens, it is usually triggered by something very disturbing in his heart. “I am not defending Chong Wei or blaming him. I am like a father to him. All champions have different characteristics. He is a superior player but, like many others, Chong Wei is different too. And there is a way to tackle this.” Misbun added that he was saddened by the problem between Chong Wei and Kim Hock. “It is regrettable that this had happened. But I hope that Chong Wei will get rid of this problem before resuming training for the India Open (Sept 4-9),” he said. “My job is to give my best in training the players and I hope my players will be focused only on one thing – doing well in international tournaments.” Misbun said that his frustration in the World Championships was the players’ failure to justify the hard work that he had put in to get them ready for the challenges. Besides Chong Wei, another of his player, Mohd Hafiz Hashim, was also beaten in the third round – by India’s Anup Sridhar. “The players were very obedient in training. They showed up early and were very enthusiastic. In fact, there were good results before the World Championships,” he said. “But what happens on court is sometimes beyond my control. I feel like my time and efforts have been dumped into a rubbish bin. “I know that as a coach, there are other human and outside factors that I have to deal with. For instance, Hafiz had fever and vomited prior to his second-round match (against Ireland’s Scott Evans). I told him to withdraw but he insisted on playing. It showed his determination and he went through.” In an effort to have a bigger pool of players in the elite squad, Misbun challenged the men’s singles back-up shuttlers to make drastic progress. “In the World Championships, Taufik (Hidayat) lost but another Indonesian (Sony) was there to keep the challenge going. China were not depending on only one player. Our second echelon of players are slow in progress compared to those from other countries,” said Misbun. “Our back-up players – both from Rashid’s (Sidek) group and mine – are coping well with the intensity of the full-time training but they are not mature in their game to challenge the big guns. This is one area that we have to give greater concentration.” Misbun said that some back-up players – Tan Chun Seang, Beryno Wong, Chan Kwong Beng, Chong Wei Feng, Lim Kenn and Liew Daren – had been prominent and hoped that they would learn from their seniors’ mistakes in their bids to become top players in the country.