Thread: Singapore Badminton Scene
11-04-2013, 05:28 AM #86
A Breakthrough for Danny Bawa Chrisnanta & Vanessa Neo?
The Dutch Open 2013 in October seemed to herald a breakthrough for our top XD pair of Danny & Vanessa.
Never before had our pair won any international tournament of significance, albeit this is just a Grand Prix event. Their form seemed to be slipping until this event.
En-route to the final, D&V brought down all the other pairs in their path, from NED, UKR, SWE and even CHN before the ultimate showdown with INA's higher-ranked #1 pair of Muhammad Rijal and Debby Susanto.
R&D are ranked 7th in the world whilst D&V are eight ranks behind at 15th. To beat the INA team in straight games of 21-19 and 25-23 was a great achievement and certainly gave our pair the much needed confidence to face the future. It was an unsuspecting upset that gave immense joy to Singapore fans like me.
The following statistics tell the story of D&V's journey:
Time Draw Score Duration Wed 10/9/2013 4:30 PM XD - 10-21 19-21 0:27 Thu 10/10/2013 5:30 PM XD - 8-21 8-21 0:17 Fri 10/11/2013 XD - 19-21 13-21 0:26 Sat 10/12/2013 XD - 21-16 18-21 19-21 0:57 Sun 10/13/2013 XD - 19-21 23-25 0:45
19 Smash winner 25 4 Net winner 5 5 Clear winner 2 14 Other 14 4 Most consecutive points 5 1 Game points 5 88 Total points played 88 42 Total points won 46
In G1, INA were leading all the way until SIN caught up at 18-all and won 2 consecutive points at 19-all to take the game. At one stage SIN was trailing by as much as 7 points before the gap became closer towards the end.
In G2, the fight was closer, but SIN took the initiative and led as much as 6 points before INA levelled at 19-all. Thereafer, it was a ding-dong battle before SIN closed the deal after 23-all.
INA have so many top XD pairs. To be able to beat one of their top ten is a good sign for our pair.
Last edited by Loh; 11-04-2013 at 05:30 AM.
11-04-2013, 10:14 AM #87
Indeed, Danny/Vanessa's XD title win at the Dutch Open GP'13 deserved more than a cursory mention. Let's hope their remarkable performance signals a breakthrough for Singapore badminton at the world level, not just at the regional level such as the SEA Games or Commonwealth Games where we've made inroads before, esp after that near-miss by Gu Juan at the MAS Open GPG earlier this year. Who knows , it may just be the impetus Singapore needs to build success upon success and grow from strength to strength going forward.
11-05-2013, 10:06 PM #88
It is heartbreaking to see top-seed Danny & Vanessa losing in R1 to the unseeded KOR pair of
Sol Kyu Choi/Yoo Jung Chae, 21-11, 18-21, 21-19 in the ongoing Korea Grand Prix Gold.
I thought this tournament should provide them the opportunity to advance further in their world ranking. Instead it stopped them in their tracks in just the opening round. And they are supposed to be the top-seed! How contrasting it was compared to their seemingly rejuvenated performance in the Dutch Open when they managed to overcome INA's Rijal & Debby in tight "razor-sharp" circumstances. Hope they will overcome their inconsistency soon.
On the other hand, the scratch pair of "semi-professional" Chayut Triyachart and Yao Lei defeated Dae Eun Kim/A Ra Ko 21-19, 19-21, 21-12 to advance to the next round. Can they give us a pleasant shock instead.
It must be quite a bruising XD battle for many as even the popular Lee Yong Dae and partner also succumbed.
Last edited by Loh; 11-05-2013 at 10:10 PM.
11-10-2013, 11:33 PM #89
Injury Ends Xing's Career
The Straits Times
Nov 11, 2013
Ankle, ligament and knee problems force S'pore shuttler to retire at 24
By May Chen
After countless scans, fruitless visits to the doctor's and painful months spent in rehabilitation, badminton player Xing Aiying is hanging up her racket for good - at the age of just 24.
Having already been plagued by an injury to her right ankle for years, a recent ligament tear and cartilage loss in her right knee have forced her to give up the sport she first picked up as a six-year-old.
"I can't run, can't jump, and my movement on court is limited. Even strength training is restricted to me lying on the floor," she explained when she announced her retirement to The Straits Times yesterday.
"I used to stop training for a day or two whenever it started to hurt before continuing again, but it's just gotten too bad to go on,' added Xing, sho also consulted specialists in China.
The Jiangsu native came to Singapore in 2003, then one of the most promising and youngest talents brought in by the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA).
She showed her potential when she won the 2004 US Open as a 15-year-old - to date still her only title on the professional circuit - shortly before reaching a career-high world
ranking of 16th.
Among her most notable adhievements in the sport: a surprise quarter-final place at the 2006 Asian Games and shocking then-world No. 8 and Olympic bronze medalist Zhou Mi of China at the 2008 Thailand Open.
While admitting that reirement has come much earlier for her than is usually the case for shuttlers, Singapore's former No. 1 said she had in fact contemplated quitting once before, when her ankle injury first put her out of action for four months in 2010.
She recalled: "Then, I felt like it was all to much to give up and I couldn't let it go. So I continued training even though I never fully recoveed.
"This time, it feels inevitable."
The 2008 Olympian may have come to terms with the reality of her retirement, but that does not mean it is any less easier to go through.
"Having done nothing but play badminton for 18 years, to suddenly leave my identity as a player behind is very hard. I demands a lot of courage," she said.
SBA senior technical manager Chua Yong Joo said: "its a pity that she has to retire at such a young age because of her injury.
"The SBA would like to thank Aiying for her contribution to the sport and to the association. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours."
While yet undecided what her future will entail, Xing has enrolled in a four-year degree in sports training at the Shanghai Univeristy of Sport and intends to spend her time primarily in Singapore in the near future.
She has also obtained a Level 1 coaching certificate under the Singapore Sports Council's National Coaching Accreditation Programme.
She said: "Things happen for a reason. Maybe I have to retire now becasue I was a little lazy, or a little weak...but I've never regretted evey step that I've taken.
"I might have left the SBA, but I told my team-mates that I've not left my friends. We can still meet and catch up.
"I hope more players will come through after I'm gone and we can achieve better results."
(I shall miss Aiying and may I wish her good luck and happiness in her future endeavours too. )
11-17-2013, 12:16 AM #90
Low Lin Fhoong
23 hours 14 min ago
SINGAPORE — The Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) have appointed former banker Ronnie Lim as their new chief executive officer (CEO).
The 39-year-old was previously General Manager and Head of Capital Markets at Royal Bank of Canada’s Singapore branch, and had also worked with Citigroup and J P Morgan. He will succeed former SBA CEO Bobby Lee, who left the association in August to join a healthcare group.
Lim was selected from SBA’s short list of four candidates, and badminton chief Lee Yi Shyan was delighted to welcome him on board after a three-month search.
“He brings along a wealth of managerial skills and industry knowledge that would benefit and value add to the SBA,” said the badminton chief.
“We thank Bobby Lee for making good contributions to SBA in his two and a half years. It was under his watch that Singapore’s Fu Mingtian won the first gold in SEA Games after 28 years.”
A keen badminton player and fan, Lim’s first task will be to lead the national team at the upcoming SEA Games in Myanmar next month.
“I have always been a passionate fan of sports, in particular badminton, so when this opportunity came up, I just knew that I have to take it,” he said.
“Bobby did a fantastic job so I know I have big shoes to fill. Hopefully I can help to take badminton to even greater heights.”
11-24-2013, 09:59 PM #91
‘Foreign talent’ good for Singapore badminton: SEA Games medal hope Vanessa Neo
By Justin Ong
Fri, Nov 22, 2013 5:55 PM SG
She is the only homegrown female competing for Singapore’s badminton team at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in December.
But Vanessa Neo isn’t in the least bit bothered by the eight naturalised shuttlers flying up to Myanmar with her, two of whom she will partner in the women’s and mixed doubles events.
“Everybody's a friend,” said the 26-year-old. “There’s no differentiation between ‘local born-and-bred’ and ‘foreigners’.”
“We’re a team, we’re all Singaporeans, and our goal is to get the highest glory for Singapore,” Neo added.
Her mixed doubles pairing with Danny Bawa Chrisnanta was once ranked ninth in the world, and recently triumphed at the Dutch Open in October.
Despite this being the duo’s first SEA Games outing, Indonesian-born Chrisnanta is confident of their chances.
“My preparation has been good. I went to a few competitions and played against a few of the opponents we’ll face at the Games,” he said. “I know what to do, I’m ready and I don’t promise anything but I want a medal.”
Danny Bawa Chrisnanta only recently secured Singaporean citizenship and will make his SEA Games debut partnering ...
Neo’s other doubles event will come loaded with heavier expectation, as her new, barely six-month-old partner is none other than 2011 SEA Games singles champion Fu Mingtian.
“It’ll be good for me. She’s more experienced and faced pressure during the 2011 Games,” said Neo. “It’s something to learn from and she can guide me along.”
They won’t face any communication issues either. Neo is fluent in Mandarin, but as her China-born partner cheerfully told Yahoo Singapore, she can converse in “not just English but Singlish too, lah.”
Raising the bar
Contrary to the naysayers, Neo, one of only two born-and-bred Singaporeans in the SEA Games squad, is in full support of Singapore’s injection of ‘foreign talent’ into sports.
“It’s a good thing, they bring up the standard in Singapore,” said the affable girlfriend of star shuttler Derek Wong. “When more come, the benchmark goes higher and for me, I always want to work towards exceeding them.”
Fu Mingtian won't be playing singles anytime soon, despite winning gold in 2011. (Yahoo Photo)
This competitive streak saw the former Rafflesian drop out of junior college to turn professional, an experience she said she has “enjoyed” without regret in the 10 years that have passed since.
Instead, she took a diploma course on the sidelines while undergoing intensive training with the national set-up.
Not the kind of decision most Singaporean parents would get behind, but Neo’s folks are passionate about badminton and introduced their eldest daughter to the sport at the age of nine.
Mom and dad, both bankers, were in fact the ones who asked if she would want to consider playing full time, said Neo.
Neo and Chrisnanta's pairing are considered a legitimate prospect for the 2016 Olympics. (Yahoo Photo)
She has also received support from sponsors Fuji Xerox, who “adopted” her and Chrisnanta to the tune of up to S$35,000, in hopes of them reaching the Olympics in 2016.
Indeed, to step out onto the courts at Rio, Brazil in 2016 is her “ultimate dream”, said Neo.
Her target lies only a short three years away, a fact well-appreciated by the petite shuttler, who bristled with quiet determination as she said, “I’m running out of time, so I’m definitely working much harder now.”
The Olympics represent her “final, last goal”, after which she says she will retire and hit the books again, in search of a degree to expand on her diploma in sports science.
But either way, she’s not ready to entirely remove badminton from her life.
“I’ll most probably still stay in the field,” said Neo, hinting at a possible coaching gig.
“Badminton has given so much to me… it will be time to pay it back.”
Singapore's badminton team launch their SEA Games campaign on 10 December. Catch all the action at the 2013 SEA Games from 5 - 22 December in Myanmar, on Yahoo Singapore.
Read more stories on Singapore at the 2013 SEA Games, here.
12-03-2013, 02:58 AM #92
Yeo Jiamin takes gold in Girls Singles Under-15
Badminton Asia Confederation
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Singapore’s Yeo Jiamin lived up to her top seeding by beating Korean Jang Na Ra21-17, 20-22, 21-16 for the Girls Singles Under-15 title at the Badminton Asia Youth championships in Kudu, Central Java, Indonesia.
GOLD: Yeo Jiamin (Singapore)
SILVER: Jang Na Ra (Korea)
BRONZE: Lee Da Hui (Korea) and Yura Nagisa (Japan)
Her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yeojiamin
Apparently Yeo Jiamin is now 14+ and was formerly from Nanyang Girls High before joining the Singapore Sports School.
10.12.2011 - Yeo Jia Min poses with her Girls' Under 15 Singles gold medal, Pilot Pen National Age Group Singles 2011, Singapore Badminton Hall, Singapore. Photo: Daniel Swee/PoDS.Sport
Great support from her family and friends!
12-03-2013, 03:53 AM #93
Yeo Jiamin, the newly crowned GS U19 and GD U15 champion at the Li Ning Singapore Youth International 2013 Finals held on 1 Dec 2013, has a good following and great support from her family and friends on Facebook.
For the record:
In the GD U15 Final, Yeo Jiamin & Crystal Wong Jia Ying defeated Widyaningrum Asty Dwi & Mentari Phita Haningtyas INA, 14-21, 21-19, 21-19.
Date/Time Score Thu 11/28/2013 3:35 PM - 14-21
0:45 Fri 11/29/2013 6:00 PM - 21-16
0:27 Sat 11/30/2013 3:00 PM - 15-21
0:40 Sun 12/1/2013 - 14-21
In the GS U19 Final, Yeo Jiamin defeated Liang Yun SIN 21-14, 21-19.
Date/Time Score Thu 11/28/2013 11:45 AM - 14-21 15-21 0:23 Fri 11/29/2013 2:00 PM - 13-21 16-21 0:33 Sat 11/30/2013 1:30 PM - 21-10 21-9 0:25 Sun 12/1/2013 - 14-21 19-21 0:30
Congratutions to Jiamin and Crystal and may they continue to do Singapore proud.
Last edited by Loh; 12-03-2013 at 04:07 AM.
12-03-2013, 07:47 PM #94
Li Ning Singapore Youth International 2013 GD U17 Champion
Congratutions too to Elaine Chua and Jin Yujia for winning the GD U17. Though unseeded, they took down the No.1 seed from Thailand in R2 and went on to beat their counterparts from INA, THA and TPE. Quite an achievement!
Our Young Ones will be Singapore's future flag bearers and we should give them as much support as possible.
- 20-22 21-16 21-13 0:42
Their passage to fhe finals:
Mon 11/25/2013 7:00 PM - 21-17 16-21 28-26 0:56 Thu 11/28/2013 4:25 PM GD U17 - 19-21 14-21 0:29 Fri 11/29/2013 6:20 PM GD U17 - 21-16 21-12 0:25 Sat 11/30/2013 3:30 PM GD U17 - 22-20 17-21 21-18 0:45 Sun 12/1/2013 GD U17 - 20-22 21-16 21-13 0:42
12-03-2013, 08:43 PM #95
Elaine Chua Yi Ling
Elaine is from out Sports School and some information on her is shown in the SSS website:
2013 Year of Graduation (Scheduled) Elaine Chua Yi Ling, Liang Xiao Yu, Deline Quek
2013 Sports News
Badminton Academy Wins 6 National Colours And Zone Awards, 4 Team Awards
By Jansen Yeo
Strategic Communications Executive
The recipients of Zone Awards and National Colours in the Badminton Academy are:
Crystal Wong Jia Ying 1st National, 1st Zone
Elaine Chua Yi Ling 1st National, 1st Zone
Liang Xiaoyu 1st National, 1st Zone
Low Kean Yew 1st National, 1st Zone
Ryan Ng Zin Rei 1st National, 1st Zone
Yeo Jiamin 2nd National, 2nd Zone
And her profile according to Team Singapore: http://www.teamsingapore.com.sg/publ...r=&view=Detail
CHUA YI LING ELAINE
Gender : Female Birthday : 14/01 (1997)
Apparently Elaine is in Sec 4 together with:
Bernard Ong Soon Yang
Clarabelle Koh Pei Lin
Deline Quel Chun Yi
Elaine Chua Yi Ling
Jet Wong Jia Jie
Liang Xiao Yu
Loh Kean Yew
Nicole Tan Gin Gin
Wilfred Ng Jinjie
Last edited by Loh; 12-03-2013 at 08:57 PM.
12-03-2013, 09:07 PM #96
5th ASEAN Schools Games, 22-30 June 2013, Hanoi, Vietnam
Our school representatives in Badminton:
ONG LENA (Ms) BEDOK VIEW SECONDARY SCHOOL
LOK CHEE HOW CANBERRA SECONDARY SCHOOL
SIM PNG WEE SAMUEL ANGLO-CHINESE SCHOOL (INDEPENDENT)
KHOO KIAN TECK ANGLO-CHINESE SCHOOL (INDEPENDENT)
BERNARD ONG SOON YANG SINGAPORE SPORTS SCHOOL
LOH KEAN YEW SINGAPORE SPORTS SCHOOL
RYAN NG ZIN REI RAFFLES INSTITUTION
JACKIE TAN DE JUN RAFFLES INSTITUTION
JASON WONG GUANG LIANG MONTFORT SECONDARY SCHOOL
ALEX TAN YI YAN MONTFORT SECONDARY SCHOOL
BIMO ADI PRAKOSO MONTFORT SECONDARY SCHOOL
MUHAMAD IMRAN KHAN BIN ABDUL H K RAFFLES INSTITUTION
GRACE CHUA HUI ZHEN (Ms) ANGLO-CHINESE SCHOOL (INDEPENDENT)
ELAINE CHUA YI LING (Ms) SINGAPORE SPORTS SCHOOL
CHONG FUI JIN (Ms) RAFFLES INSTITUTION
MARISSA NG XUE TING (Ms) RAFFLES INSTITUTION
JIN YU JIA (Ms) ANGLICAN HIGH SCHOOL
LIANG YUN (Ms) ANGLICAN HIGH SCHOOL
CITRA PUTRI SARI DEWI (Ms) PAYA LEBAR METHODIST GIRLS' SCHOOL
CRYSTAL WONG JIA YING (Ms) SINGAPORE SPORTS SCHOOL
Last edited by Loh; 12-03-2013 at 09:18 PM.
12-08-2013, 09:13 PM #97
Yeo Jiamin wins two titles at Youth International Series
By Zaher Wahab
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Yeo Jiamin won the U-19 singles crown. (Photo 1 © Stanley Cheah/Red Sports)
Singapore Badminton Hall, – Girl power was evident at the recent Li-Ning Singapore Youth International Series, when Singapore’s young female shuttlers downed their opponents in the four finals that they had qualified for.
The girls came away with both the U-19 singles and doubles crown after beating their opponents soundly. Yeo Jiamin beat fellow Singaporean, Liang Yun, in straight sets, 21–14, 21–19, to clinch the U-19 singles title. Liang Yun later paired up with Citra Putri, to demolish the Thai pairing of Ruhakarn Dolaporn and Ratanamano Thanwaraj, in straight sets, 21–11, 21–14, to claim the U-19 doubles crown.
The badminton belles continued their winning streak by capturing the U-15 and U-17 doubles crowns when they beat their Indonesian and Chinese Taipei opponents,
respectively. Singaporeans Crystal Wong and Yeo Jiamin claimed their U-15 doubles crown by beating the Indonesian pair of Widyaningrum Asty Dwi and Mentari Phita Haningtyas, 21–19 and 21–19, in the second and third set. This came after they rebounded from a first set defeat of 14–21.
Similarly, Elaine Chua and Jin Yujia, regrouped after their first set defeat to beat the Chinese Taipei pair of Chao Pin Chi and Chiang Ya Ting, 21–16, 21–13, to claim the U-17 doubles title.
It was a similar scenario for the boys’ pair of Loh Kean Hean and Terry Hee when they clawed back after losing their first set 18–21, to capture the U-19 doubles crown. They beat their Chinese Taipei counterparts, Chieh Yang Min and Lin Yu-Hsien, 21–17, 21–19, in the second and third sets respectively.
Current world women’s singles champion, Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, honed her skills against local and foreign shuttlers in the 2010 and 2011 edition of this tournament. This year, participants vied for a total prize kitty of SGD$9,000.
Liang Yun lost the U-19 final to Yeo Jiamin but teamed up with Citra Putri to win the U-19 doubles title. (Photo 2 © Stanley Cheah/Red Sports)
Loh Kean Hean and Hee Yong Kai teamed up to win the U-19 doubles title. (Photo 3 © Stanley Cheah/Red Sports)
Yeo Jiamin (left) and Crystal Wong teamed up to win the U-15 doubles title. (Photo 4 © Stanley Cheah/Red Sports)
Chua Yi Ling (left) and Jin Yujia teamed up to win the U-17 doubles title. (Photo 5 © Stanley Cheah/Red Sports)
12-11-2013, 12:16 AM #98
Myanmar SEA Games 2013
SEA Games: Gu Juan, Derek Wong and doubles pairs crash out of badminton event
The Straits Times
Published on Dec 10, 2013
By Chia Han Keong
Singapore's badminton team opened their SEA Games campaign on a disastrous note yesterday.
The nation's top male and female shuttlers Derek Wong and Gu Juan crashed out in the opening rounds of the badminton singles tournament at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium yesterday.
Gu lost to Indonesia's Manuputty Bellaetrix 13-21, 17-21, while Wong lost to Thailand's second seed Thanongsak Saesomboonsuk 9-21, 21-13, 17-21.
The mixed doubles duo of Vanessa Neo and Danny Bawa Chrisnanta, as well as the women's doubles duo of Neo and Fu Mingtian, also crashed out in their opening matches.
- See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking....u24JyjWj.dpuf
(What a disappointing day for Singapore Badminton!)
(Even without the region's top shuttlers who are preparing for the BWF Super Series Finals in Kuala Lumpur, Dec 11-15)
Last edited by Loh; 12-11-2013 at 12:27 AM.
12-12-2013, 09:10 PM #99
SEA Games: Singapore’s badminton doubles pair reach semi-finals
By John Leong
POSTED: 12 Dec 2013 20:21
SINGAPORE: Team Singapore's hopes of bagging a medal in the sport live on, after the country's women's doubles pair reached the semi-finals.
Yao Lei and Shinta Mulia Sari beat Indonesia's Imawan Gebby Ristiyano and Nuraidah Tiara Rosalia in three sets.
The Singaporean pair took the first game 21-16, before losing the second 20-22.
They then endured a nervy finish, before taking the last game 26-24.
The Singapore pair move on to the last four, where they will face Malaysia next.
12-15-2013, 03:20 AM #100
SEA Games: Bronze for Shinta & Yao as they lose to Malaysia's Hoo & Woon
SEA Games: Bronze for Shinta & Yao as they lose to Malaysia's Hoo & Woon
Published on Dec 13, 2013
Singapore shuttlers Shinta Mulia Sari (left) and Yao Lei had to settle for bronze at the SEA Games after losing in the women's doubles semi-finals in Naypyidaw on Friday, Dec 13, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
By Sanjay Nair
Singapore shuttlers Shinta Mulia Sari and Yao Lei had to settle for bronze at the SEA Games after losing in the women's doubles semi-finals in Naypyidaw on Friday.
The Republic's top female duo fell 21-23, 21-17, 17-21 to Malaysia's Vivian Hoo Kah Mun and Woon Khe Wei, who are ranked 18th in the world, two spots lower than the Singaporeans.
This is Shinta and Yao's third Games together, after winning silver in 2009 and bronze two years later. After winning one gold and four bronzes at the 2011 Jakarta edition, Singapore returns home with a single bronze this time.
"We made too many unforced errors and let them dictate the match - it's a disappointing end to the tournament for us even with the bronze," said Shinta, 25.
01-08-2014, 06:40 AM #101
Coaching revamp for Singapore badminton
BY LOW LIN FHOONG
PUBLISHED: 08 JANUARY, 6:04 PM
SINGAPORE — The Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) have announced changes to their coaching set-up after a six-month review into the national team’s poor performances at last year’s Singapore Open and Myanmar SEA Games.
The national sports association announced today (Dec 8) that a local coaching team will be put in place from Feb 1. This will consist of national intermediate squad chief coach Liu Qingdong, singles and doubles coaches Liu Fan, Jiang Yanmei and Ding Chao. The newly-appointed team will replace former chief singles coach Luan Ching and South Korean Yoo Yong Sung, who joined the SBA as the chief doubles coach in January last year.
Said SBA president Lee Yi Shyan: “Coach Liu has raised the standard of the NIS players since he took up the role two years ago. We have confidence that he will be able to unify our training methodologies and bond our players into a stronger team.”
The association also plans to introduce a SBA Distinguished Players Programme to engage renowned coaches, players and experts to help improve the team. A Players’ Individual training plan will also be implemented to help the shutters set their training objectives, and allow for regular reviews for each individual player.
Last edited by Justin L; 01-08-2014 at 06:42 AM.
01-08-2014, 08:05 PM #102
Singapore badminton overhauls coaching staff after ‘poor’ performance in 2013
By Justin Ong | Fit To Post Sports – 10 hours ago
Yao Lei (left) and Shinta Mulia Sari clinched Singapore badminton's only medal at the SEA Games last year. (Getty …In football, it is not uncommon for coaches to be fired within months, sometimes weeks, of failure.
But in badminton? Not often heard of.
Yet it is the very course of action taken by the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA), on the back of what president Lee Yi Shyan acknowledged as a year of “faring poorly” at tournaments like the Li-Ning Singapore Open and the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The association has parted ways with singles coach Luan Ching and doubles trainer Yoo Yong Sung, both of whose contracts were due to run till the end of the year.
SBA officials confirmed that China native Luan ended his four-year tenure by consensual agreement while Yoo of South Korea resigned from a post he had held for only a year.
“They both made valuable contributions during their stay here,” said Lee at a press conference on Wednesday at the Singapore Sports School. “But we have to move on, so we can continue to raise the standard of the team.”
The man tasked to do so is Liu Qingdong, who will occupy a newly-formed, all-encompassing role as chief coach overseeing singles and doubles players in both the national team and its feeder, the National Intermediate Squad (NIS).
Assisting the 44-year-old in coaching duties are his fellow China-born, naturalised Singaporeans Liu Fan (singles), Jiang Yanmei (doubles) and Ding Chao (NIS).
Liu, formerly the coach of the NIS, has already responded to his promotion by declaring to the media his philosophy of settling for nothing but the very best.
“Every competition, I tell my players: you are going out there to get gold,” he said in Mandarin. “Otherwise, don’t bother.”
The ex-China national youth team captain has his work cut out for him, judging by the recent run of sub-par performances by Singapore’s shuttlers.
They went from five medals at the 2011 SEA Games to just one at the 2013 Games in December, with women’s doubles pair Shinta Mulia Sari and Yao Lei earning a joint-bronze after crashing out in the semi-finals to lower-ranked opposition.
SBA chief Lee, who is also Senior Minister of State in Trade and Industry, pointed out that the latest SEA Games edition had no team events and was thus a “very scaled down version”.
However, earlier in the year, none of 23 Singaporean entries could make it to the quarter-finals of the marquee Singapore Open despite being cheered on by a 30,000-strong home crowd at the Indoor Stadium.
Public outrage over the dismal showing led to SBA assembling a task force in July to undertake a six-month internal review.
Widespread problems were identified, said Lee, in particular a lack of communication and teamwork between players, coaches and management.
The task force’s recommendations, unveiled at the press conference, include a “Distinguished Visitors Programme” to engage world-renowned badminton individuals to critique Singapore’s national setup; a Player’s Individual Training Plan (PITP) to customise training for each shuttler; and most immediately, a new coaching system spearheaded by Liu.
New coach Liu has high hopes for singles player Gu Juan (Getty Images)Aiming high
Liu’s appointment was greeted with positivity from some national players, with Yao expressing “confidence” in the former coach in Sichuan’s provincial team.
“I’ve encountered him only once or twice, but he’s very professional,” she said, in Mandarin.
Teen shuttler Yeo Jiamin, 14, shared that over the two years Liu spent in charge of the NIS, he was “meticulous in his methods and constantly sought to improve” the players.
Given his experience with younger talents, Liu, who first arrived in Singapore in 2001 to coach Fu Hua Secondary School, will be expected to blood new players into the senior squad.
Otherwise, the results-oriented trainer has already set targets for the likes of doubles pair Yao and Shinta as well as singles player Gu Juan – it is gold or nothing at the Commonwealth Games in July.
“To aim for the top eight or top four is not enough,” said Liu. “My demand is gold.”
His first litmus test will come as soon as April with the Singapore Open, with more major events such as the Commonwealth Games and September’s Asian Games to follow after.
But Liu’s employers also cautioned that the new arrangement would take time to settle, and Lee declined to set any concrete targets for SBA “too early” on.
The minister, however, offered a personal take on the state of badminton in Singapore.
“In Singapore, more than 150,000 people play badminton, and most are happy to just play and enjoy the game. We want to support that,” said Lee.
“Playing at national level is not the life-long career of many young people (sic), and that itself is a constraint.”
Lee explained that such circumstances result in a “limited pool” of players.
“We very much want to have two to three times the talent depth we have today. If we have another 20 more national players, it will be a lot more competitive and far better,” he said.
“But we accept that as a constraint and we work at making the players the best that they can be. That’s our goal.”
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