The Star Online > Sports
Tuesday April 27, 2004
Knee injury forces doubles specialist to skip Thomas Cup training

By RAJES PAUL

KUALA LUMPUR: National doubles shuttler Lee Wan Wah has thrown a spanner in the works of national doubles chief coach Yap Kim Hock's final phase of training for the Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta from May 7-16.

Wan Wah skipped training at the Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara yesterday to seek treatment for his knee injury at the National Sports Institute (NSI) in Bukit Jalil.

The veteran had felt a sharp pain on his knee during the match against China's Sun Junjie-Xu Chen in the recent Asian Badminton Championships (ABC).

“We will not hesitate to replace Wan Wah with a junior player if he is not able to follow the tough pace in training,” said Kim Hock yesterday.

“This is a crucial week for all the players. Wan Wah has gone for treatment and we do not know how fast he can recover. I will decide on Friday whether we need to replace him if he cannot follow the pace in training in the next few days.

“We are training thrice a day and the workload is heavy. This is the final week of training before the team leave for Jakarta (on May 5).

“If players like Wan Wah and Choong Tan Fook do not push themselves in training, they cannot achieve good results.

“But then it will also increase their chances of getting injured. This is certainly a no-win situation for us,” said Kim Hock.

A country can replace their players if they are certified not fit due to injuries.

There are two junior pairs – Lin Woon Fui-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari and Ong Soon Hock-Tan Bin Shen – available as replacements.

“Woon Fui and Fairuzizuan are skilful. The juniors are fighters and if they get to play in the Thomas Cup Finals it will boost their morale.”

While Wan Wah's place is uncertain, Kim Hock assured Chong Ming he will be part of the team for the Finals.

“Except for lacking sting in his smashes, Chong Ming is still one of the better players around. And he can still contribute to the team.

“Due to injuries to several of our players, the quality of our sparring during training is low compared to the teams from Indonesia, China and South Korea. To make up for this we put four juniors against a pair in training,” said Kim Hock. Besides Tan Fook-Wan Wah and Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng, the other doubles player named for the Finals is Koo Kien Keat.