NST Feb 9

For national chief coach Yap Kim Hock, the three gold medals Malaysia has targeted from badminton in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games depends on how fast the national players adapt to the newly introduced 21-point system.

In order to achieve this, Kim Hock has even included the not so popular Philippines Open on March 1-5, just 10 days before the start of the Commonwealth Games, to his teamís preparation.

Malaysia will also be competing in the Thomas and Uber Cups Asian zone qualifiers in Jaipur, India on Feb 15-19 but Kim Hock feels that one tournament will not be sufficient for the players to get used to the new scoring system.

Kim Hock, understandably, is more worried about the doubles where only one service will be used instead of the normal two in the 15-point scoring system. The players will serve alternatively.

Malaysia are targeting two gold medals through the menís and womenís doubles and Kim Hock feels it will be important to give the players an extra tournament to adapt themselves.

"So far, it has not been a problem with the new scoring system but it will take some time before we can really settle down and work on match strategies," said Kim Hock yesterday.

"In the Thomas Cup qualifiers, we have an easy draw and this inevitably means a lack of quality matches. The Philippines Open though has been upgraded to four-star status, and this will attract top class players.

"The singles players are getting along fine so we need to focus more on the doubles, as this is where there are more restrictions.

"There will only be one service and this means there can be no slip-ups. We cannot take things for granted, so we must be fully prepared."

The menís team to Melbourne is made up of Lee Chong Wei, Wong Choong Hann, Choong Tan Fook, Chan Chong Ming and Koo Kien Keat, while Wong Mew Choo, Julia Wong, Chin Eei Hui, Wong Pei Tty and Ooi Sock Ai make up the womenís squad.

Chong Wei is primed to win the menís singles gold medal, Chong Ming-Kien Keat are expected to win the menís doubles gold and Pei Tty-Eei Hui should take the womenís doubles gold.

Chong Ming-Kien Keat are notably slow starters and Kim Hock feels that they will gain a lot by competing in the Philippines Open.