NST

A BELIEF in themselves and a change in attitude are the two things the national women shuttlers must work on if they hope to make an impact on the international scene.

There is not the slightest doubt that the Malaysian women shuttlers have improved.

Wong Mew Choo's rise in the world rankings and the doubles pair of Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui qualifying for the Olympic Games, are testimony to the inroads made by the women.

But if the Chinese are the benchmark in world badminton, Malaysia's achievement to date, is nothing to shout about.

Malaysia did very well to qualify for the quarter-finals and it can only add to the confidence of the shuttlers.

But their confidence is only seen when the Malaysians take on weaker teams or players.

Malaysia, at best, are almost on par with Japan, an achievement to be proud off but not to be content with.

Mew Choo and company put up a terrific struggle before bowing out 4-1 to Japan in the preliminary group tie.

A 5-0 defeat followed at the hands of Denmark while a 3-0 win against Australia enabled them to finish amongst the top eight teams in the world.

But it was the match against China, Uber Cup winners three consecutive times, that exposed the weakness and lack of mental strength among the Malaysian shuttlers.

Only Mew Choo tried to rally, and to her credit, stayed in the game, with China's world champion Zhang Ning.

At least she took the fight to the Chinese.

But that was not the case with Pei Tty-Eei Hui and Nursyahliza Baharum who showed too much respect and were too much in awe of the Chinese to do justice to themselves.

The end result was a meek display, and Mew Choo hit the nail on the head when she said Malaysian players lack self belief when it comes to competing against some of the bigger names.

"Once the match ends, only then do we realise that we could have actually given a better fight," said Mew Choo.

"But by then, it is too late."

And that is exactly what happened to Pei Tty-Eei Hui and Nursyahliza.

Maybe the Malaysians can take a leaf out of Indonesia's doubles pair of Jo Novita-Lita Nurlita who took a game off Korea's Lee Hyo Jung-Hwang Yu Mi, the No 1 pair in the absence of Ra Kyung Min.

And that is the attitude that has to be inculcated in Malaysians as well. After all, the worst that could happen is that they would lose.