NST Oct 14

NATIONAL chief coach Yap Kim Hock, realising that age is fast catching up with some of the senior players, will bring in more young players into the Project 2006-2008 squad in December.
In the menís singles, Tan Chun Seang, Lim Kenn and Shafiq Jamaluddin are tipped to be roped in as current seniors Yeoh Kay Bin, Lee Tsuen Seng and James Chua are struggling with their form.

In the womenís singles, Norsyahliza Baharom and Julia Wong will be promoted from the Project 2010-2012 squad to the senior squad and will focus on the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Uber Cup in Tokyo and the Doha Asian Games, all scheduled for next year.

Kim Hock said that the changes are necessary as Kay Bin, Tsuen Seng and Chua will all be 27 next year and it is vital to have younger back-up players in the team.

The coach will submit his proposal to the coaching and training committee which will meet after Hari Raya next month.

"We need to look at the long term and age is one of the criteria we must look into. Kay Bin, Tsuen Seng and Chua will all be 27 and we have a hectic schedule next year," said Kim Hock.

"This is why I have decided to bring some of the younger players into the senior squad next year. The change will also give them a head start as they are also part of our programme until the 2012 Olympics.

"This does not mean that Kay Bin, Tsuen Seng and Chua will be dropped. They will be in the training squad until the Doha Games, but will be dropped only if they fail to show progress.

"Norsyahliza and Julia will be in our Uber Cup squad and other major events and they must train with the senior squad."

At the moment, the proposed players are all under 2010-2012 Project Squad coaches Rashid Sidek and Tey Siu Bock but they are expected to progress much faster training with the national team who are being coached by Li Mao and Wong Tat Meng.

Wong Mew Choo is the only woman singles player under Project 2006-2008, so itís inevitable that Norsyahliza and Julia are included.

In the menís singles, Wong Choong Hann is the oldest player at 29 while the average age of the entire squad is about 23.

Kim Hock has also proposed that juniors Haw Chiou Hwee-Chong Sook Chin be promoted to give womenís doubles coach Cheah Soon Kit more options. At the moment, the doubles squad is solely dependant on World No 7 Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui. The other pairs are Ooi Sock Ai-Mooi Hing Yau, Fong Chew Yen-See Phui Leng and Wong Wai See-Ooi Yu Hang.

The menís doubles will not see a major change as there are seven regular pairs in the senior team.