Thread: KLRC - Kuala Lumpure Racket Club
12-04-2011, 02:40 AM #1
KLRC - Kuala Lumpure Racket Club
KLRC’s unique combo
THERE are many badminton clubs in Malaysia but one – KLRC – stand out. This professional outfit have done what many others have failed – produce an Asian and world junior champion in Zulfadli Zulkifli. KLRC owner Datuk Seri Andrew Kam shares with Starsports’ RAJES PAUL the six-year-old club’s challenges and his dream of producing an Olympic champion.
Q: Is Zulfadli a one-hit wonder?
A: Zulfadli did not only become the country’s first Asian junior champion but he also went on to be the country’s first world junior champion. We are pleased with his two big achievements. In the world junior meet, he beat defending champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark. Zulfadli is a rare talent with a great future. He has proven himself at the junior level and we are committed to journeying with him to make him an Olympic champion. Hopefully, he will win the next Olympic gold at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – after Lee Chong Wei, who is being counted on to end the country’s wait for a first gold medal at the London Olympics. If Zulfadli is managed well, he can go far. One extraordinary trait of Zulfadli’s is his fearless approach to the game and his intelligence on court. He does not easily back down and he knows how to finish off a game.
Q: What are your immediate plans for Zulfadli?
A: We began sending Zulfadli to international tournaments when he was just 13. We have to continue giving him the exposure. For now, he needs to work on his speed. He will continue to spar with others in the club. We will get as much help as possible to raise his level of play. I would even recommend that he be given a chance to play in the Thomas Cup Finals. I am sure that Denmark will field Viktor Axelsen in the team competition. So, why not give Zulfadli the early exposure – even if it is only as a reserve.
Q: How important is Zulfadli’s win for a club like KLRC?
A: His win has proven one important point – not only the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) can produce a world champion. When we started the club six years ago, many said it would not last one year. We have grown stronger each year and now we have an Asian and world junior champion in our midst. It shows that a club like ours can produce champions. Clubs not only contribute to the development of the game but also fulfil the national interest. It is all about having the right mindset.
Q: In the past, your players – Gan Teik Chai-Tan Bin Shen – were not selected for the World Championships despite qualifying on merit. What do you think of the current guidelines set by the national body?
A: The England BA have clear guidelines on their website for all their players wanting to qualify for the Olympic Games – one year in advance. They are transparent and all players know what it takes to make the cut. It is important to have rules of engagement so that everyone will be clear on what it takes to represent the country. Teik Chai-Bin Shen found out too late the criteria for selection and they missed the boat for this year’s world meet. In footballing terms, we cannot keep moving the goalposts. There should be a measurable yardstick and it should be spelt out clearly.
Q: Zulfadli’s father, Zulkifli Sidek, has done well as a coach for his son but do you think it’s time to break up their partnership.
A: Why break something that has proven to be a success? There is no denying that his father has played a pivotal role. We will continue with the arrangement although the challenges for Zulfadli will be greater in the senior ranks. I am sure that his father knows what he is doing. He is a qualified coach and he has something extra – he knows his son in and out.
Q: Can KLRC produce more players like Zulfadli?
A: We are going to hold a selection trial to bring in new players. KLRC are not focused on elite local and international players. We have an ongoing junior programme. We conduct talent scouting to increase the pool of players. We aim to produce more juniors like Zulfadli. Malaysia used to have a bunch of good men’s singles players at one stage under the guidance of the late Indra Gunawan but now the elite squad is just banking on one player. Many players have left because they are treated just as sparring partners in the national team. Instead of becoming a golfer, many are turned into caddies in the national team. The youngsters must be given equal attention. Look at China, they have five players in the top 12 bracket in the world – Lin Dan, Chen Long, Chen Jin, Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming.
Q: Why do you consider KLRC unique?
A: We have a mix of players under our club and everyone benefits from the presence of one another. We have Russian players and they are known for their discipline, which is then picked up by our local players. Here, the players are taught to be independent. They are not spoon fed and, naturally, this is translated into the court when our players go the extra mile to win their matches.
We also take care of our players after they retire. Sairul Amar Ayob is now into business and is doing well with an events company. Our former players like Ang Li Peng, Anita Raj Kaur and Sugina are all career women now. Li Peng is a barrister of law in the United Kingdom; Anita is an accountant; and Sugina is a doctor. We pay equal attention to badminton and education.
Q: Datuk Seri, you own gold mines and, naturally, you are rich enough to run this club. Is funding sufficient for you because we know that the BAM need millions of ringgit to run their programme?
A: I have about 40 local and international players in the elite group. I have a stack of files on my table – of players wanting to join the club. A lot of money is needed to support these players. I am a businessman but I also have a social responsibility. This is my way of contributing to the country. I have managed without any government funding or money from any sponsors so far but, of course, it would be good if other corporate companies can come in and support us. I will be more than delighted if someone wants to partner us.
Q: How is your club perceived by others as far as your relationship with BAM is concerned?
A: We are seen as a competitor although I have stressed many times that we are here to complement BAM. It is difficult to change the mindset of certain people and I have given up doing that. Sometimes, this perception keeps people away from wanting to associate with the club. My conscience is clear ... we are here to co-exist with the national body and we will continue to be a platform to produce champions.
Q: Do you aspire to be the president of BAM or Badminton World Federation (BWF)?
I did give it a try once. I was nominated for the BWF’s president’s post in 2009 by the Australia BA. The irony is that I did not get the support from our own association. It seems that they had committed to supporting another candidate from another country at that time. Anyway, all that is in the past. I still love this country and this sport. The best for now is to run my own club – as it gives me the freedom to do what I want for the sport, which is to give aspiring players the chance to come good in badminton.
since they might get more attention in near future,here is the thread for discussion and comment
12-04-2011, 08:56 AM #2
12-04-2011, 09:45 AM #3
15 players under the auspices of KLRC now
12-04-2011, 08:45 PM #4
12-05-2011, 08:21 PM #5
Does KLRC actually update their website?
12-11-2011, 11:30 PM #6
i dont know why this thread cant be under malaysia pro player thread where we can see ina can have one for djarum. lol
12-13-2011, 10:56 PM #7
Probably this is a Malaysian badminton club that sponsors player not just Malaysian players, but 'internationally' player as well..
Or u could straight away go and ask the moderator from Malaysia if you still not satisfy..
01-02-2012, 05:24 AM #8
How to join the club?
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