The Star Online > Sports
Wednesday February 29, 2012
Zulfadli to the fore By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: It was a day of triple joy for Asian and world junior singles champion Zulfadli Zulkifli of KLRC – as well as a day of recognition for all professional clubs.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) showed that they are open to the idea of giving independent players a chance to prove themselves by naming Zulfadli for three major assignments.
The youngster, who turned 19 on Feb 11, has been selected to represent the country in the Axiata Cup under Team B (comprising the country’s best Under-21 players). The others are all BAM shuttlers – Misbun Ramdan Misbun, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Loh Wei Sheng and world junior boys’ champions Ow Yao Han-Chooi Kah Ming (2009) and Teo Ee Yi-Nelson Heg Wei Keat (2011).
Zulfadli has also been invited to join the trainees gearing up for the Thomas Cup Finals in Wuhan in May.
Big thank you: Zulfadli Zulkifli will now get a chance to prove himself.
But the icing on the cake was his inclusion as one of the core members of a special squad for the 2016 Thomas Cup Finals and Olympic Games.
Zulfadli has been asked to train at the national centre at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara with another KLRC player – Mohd Hafiz Ha**shim – from March 5. Seasoned campaigner Hafiz played in the Tho*mas Cup qualifiers in Macau and has been earmarked for the Finals.
Zulfadli’s selection is unique as he did not come through the BAM centralised system. He had benefited from state programmes during his younger days before joining professional club KLRC, owned by Datuk Seri Andrew Kam.
BAM president Datuk Seri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh said that the national body were open to the idea of having players from clubs representing the country.
“With this in mind, we have requested Hafiz and Zulfadli to join BAM’s training from March 5 to prepare for the Axiata Cup,” Nadzmi said after chairing the council meeting at a hotel here yesterday.
The Axiata Cup, a men’s mixed team event comprising two singles and one doubles will be held over three weekends – March 23-25, March 31-April 2 and April 13-15.
“After the Axiata Cup, they will continue to train at BAM until the Thomas Cup Finals,” said Nadzmi.
“As for selection to the Thomas Cup Finals, the best players in the country, whether BAM or independent, will be considered. The team will be named at the end of April.
“We will not hold a trial but selection will be based on coaches’ assessments.”
On the introduction of the 2016 special squad, Nadzmi said: “It consists of the best Under-21 players who were medallists at last year’s World Junior and Asian Junior championships.
“The council decided to form the squad today because we believe that there should be continuity in BAM. More players from the national team or the clubs will be included in this squad if they show potential.
“We have not spoken about having a specific coach for this squad although we would like to have one in the future.”
Nadzmi said an official letter would be sent to Zulfadli and Hafiz on their selection.
“We will sit with these players and discuss the details of the offer and sponsorship matters. We have several conditions for non-BAM players and we will lay them out,” he said.
Zulfadli’s inclusion is proof that club and independent players can represent the country if they produce the goods. OTHER MATTERS
·Ariffin Mohd Ghani of the National Sports Council (NSC) appointed as an additional member of High Performance Team (HPT);
·Johor to host the Yonex-Sunrise Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold from May 1-6; and
·Every council member awarded a Samsung tablet so that future meetings will be paperless.
> Axiata Cup Team A
Singles: Lee Chong Wei, Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Liew Daren, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif.
Doubles: Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah.
> Axiata Cup Team B and 2016 Thomas Cup and Olympic Games special squad
Men’s singles: Zulfadli Zulkifli, Misbun Ramdan Misbun, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Loh Wei Sheng.
The Star Online > Sports
Wednesday February 29, 2012
World junior champ just can’t believe his good fortune
KUALA LUMPUR: “Is it really true?” This was the first question youngster Zulfadli Zulkifli asked when told that he had been included in the training team for the Thomas Cup Finals and named to represent the country for the Axiata Cup and the special squad for the 2016 Thomas Cup Finals and Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
When told it was true, KLRC shuttler Zulfadli expressed elation with the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) decision.
“I am glad BAM have recognised my achievements in winning the Asian and world junior titles ... I am thrilled to bits,” said Zulfadli.
“I know I have a long way to go but the experience of playing in the Axiata Cup will be great. It will allow young players like me to experience the atmosphere of a team competition.
“I am also looking forward to training with the rest for the Thomas Cup Finals. It will be a priceless learning curve for me.
“I have joined BAM’s training sessions before, having been invited for centralised training prior to the Asian and world junior meets.
“I am aware of their rules and regulations and I am ready to abide by them. Representing the country is an honour.”
Zulfadli said he is looking forward to meeting the BAM to work out details of his move from the club to the national centre.
“Of course, I will discuss all this with my club’s president (Datuk Seri Andrew Kam) and my father. I am sure they will be supportive and I will get their blessings,” he said.
“I do not mind the short stints with the national team but I have to discuss in depth if it involves a long term partnership.
“I have to safeguard the interest of my sponsors. All this can be discussed and solved amicably.
“The most important thing is that I get a chance to gain as much experience as possible in my transition year from a junior to a senior player.”
Zulfadli, who turned 19 on Feb 11, is ranked 130th in the world.
His best achievement in the last one year was a semi-final finish at the Proton Malaysia International Challenge, where he lost to Mohd Arif Abdul Latif.
At long last a most sensible decision by KLRC, ZZ's dad and BAM to include ZZ in training with the national team.
As I have said before, as of now I doubt KLRC will have all the resources and facilities to groom ZZ into an international star. The longer KLRC tries to hold back ZZ, the more time wasted for him to further develop himself as a senior player.
With the inclusion of ZZ in the national training programme, the other young national trainees will have to buck up to justify their place in the team and selection for the Thomas Cup finals later.
It will be good for all concerned and hopefully, this will be the beginning of a closer cooperation between KLRC and BAM in future for the national good.
The Star Online > Sports
Friday March 2, 2012
Zulfadli will get back to BAM after consulting his club president
PETALING JAYA: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) met with KLRC youngster Zulfadli Zulkifli yesterday to facilitate his training with the national team starting Monday.
BAM general manager Kenny Goh gave a favourable review of the session with Zulfadli and his father at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara.
“It was a good meeting. We handed over our official invitation to Zulfadli. We also laid down the terms and conditions and spoke about the rules and regulations,” said Kenny.
“Zulfadli wants a word with his club president Datuk Seri Andrew Kam before getting back to us.
“He did not set any conditions and is looking forward to joining the team.
“He will be under the guidance of our coaches Tey Seu Bock, Rashid Sidek and Hendrawan.”
The BAM council decided on Tuesday to invite KLRC players Zulfadli and Mohd Hafiz Hashim to join the national team as part of the preparations for the Axiata Cup and Thomas Cup Finals.
Zulfadli has also been invited to join the project squad for the 2016 Thomas Cup Finals and Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The 19-year-old Zulfadli shot into prominence last year when he became the country’s first player to win the Asian and world junior boys’ singles titles.