New Straits Times » Sport Different Strokes: Malaysian women beginning to stir Vijesh Rai Mew Choo, 20, lost 11-6, 11-3 to Ruina, the reigning champion and that too after having taken a 6-0 lead in the first game. The doubles pair of Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty also did well despite losing in the first round as they came within two points of upsetting China’s Chen Lin-Jiang Xuelian. The Malaysians lost 2-15, 15-13, 13-15. In the mixed doubles, Eei Hui and Chew Choon Eng would have made more of their second round clash against England’s Robert Blair-Natalie Munt on Wednesday if not for Chew-Chan Chong Ming having a great chance to advance to the semi-finals of the men’s doubles. Chew-Eei Hui lost 15-2, 15-6. But the eye opener here is that the Malaysian women, for so long in the shadows of the men, are beginning to stir. They are starting to make an impact on the international scene and for this, credit must be given to the BA of Malaysia. There was suspicion that BAM treated the women as the poorer cousins, largely due to the poor returns from the players. In fact, the retirement rate of women players is extremely high as not many play beyond four or five years. There could be two reasons for this — the first is that the women lack staying power and the second because they feel BAM do not give them the same breaks as the men. While that might not be the case, it is a fact that the women do not play in as many tournaments as the men do. Mew Choo, when asked whether she too would disappear after a couple of years, said: “At the moment, I have not set any retirement date. I want to see how far I can go in my badminton career. The Olympics, if not next year, then in Beijing 2008, is my target,” she said. To win a medal won’t be easy but Mew Choo, and the doubles pair, have shown that they can, if given the breaks, go far. Doubles coach Yap Kim Hock said that Eei Hui-Pei Tty are the future of women’s doubles in Malaysia but it is what singles coach Misbun Sidek said on the eve of the World Championships that is most pertinent. “I want Mew Choo to play in the World Championships as I want her to be aware of what top quality world badminton is like,” said Misbun. “After a couple of training sessions, she asked me why is everything so fast here. This is what I want her to learn get used to.” While Mew Choo qualified on merit, the World Championships is not the place to learn, especially when Malaysia ranks as one of the best in the sport. Experienced and well- versed players must represent the country in a major meet like this. Mew Choo’s inexperience was so apparent that when Ruina changed her style of play when trailing 0-6, the Malaysian was lost. This can only come with experience and for that to happen, the players must be exposed to more competitions. And this shouldn’t be limited to just a handful as the younger players need to be groomed too. BAM need not sent them to tournaments in Europe, which cost a bomb, but there are enough tournaments within Asia for the players to gain exposure. The promising ones can then be upgraded to the bigger tournaments while those who don’t cut it should be phased out. After all, BAM did give several of the men players extended runs in the national team despite their lack of promise and there is no harm in giving the women the same break.