Tuesday January 15, 2013
No Li-way as Yongbo plans to stay on for good
LI YONGBO, China’s head honcho in badminton, has no plans to slow down. And that’s bad news for the rest of the world, including Malaysia.
In fact, Yongbo plans to stick around for at least another 10 years to take his team to even greater heights.
“Give me another 10 years to push China badminton to a higher level. Yes, I will be 60-year-old when I am done,” said Yongbo after enjoying a round of golf under the scorching sun at the Tropicana Golf and Country Resort here yesterday.
The 50-year-old Yongbo is China’s most decorated and successful head coach. And his formula for success is simple.
“It is all about team unity. I have been with them for so long that I know what areas need to improve. If someone is there for a short term, they can’t do much,” said Yongbo, who took up coaching after winning a men’s doubles bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games with Tian Bingyi.
When asked about his thoughts on Malaysia’s lack of leadership in the coaching department, Yongbo said: “I do not know how badminton works in Malaysia. It is not fair for me to compare Malaysia with China. Every country has different methods. All I can say is that the relationship between a coach and player is important.
“It is vital for a coach to be experienced as he can show a player how it is done. He should be able to motivate and understand a player. The unity between them is important.”
As for his best moment as a coach, Yongbo said it had to be the London Olympic Games last year.
“China won all the five gold medals in badminton – that truly is a dream come true. I am not sure whether we can achieve the same result again. So, I will cherish it the most.”
Under his astute leadership, China have produced many talented shuttlers for the world to enjoy.
For Yongbo, two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan will always be his favourite and the greatest player.
“My favourite has to be Lin Dan. There is no question about his dedication and achievements.
“Outside of China, my favourite is Lee Chong Wei. He is skilful but unlucky at times,” said Yongbo, who sees the Lin Dan-Chong Wei rivalry to go on for at least another two years.
Yongbo, who is known for his no-nonsense approach and over-protectiveness when it comes to the Chinese team, said he was often deemed as a proud and arrogant man.
“I am a straight-forward person and do not mince my words. I have been in authority for so long that sometimes I am seen as a scary character. But just ask my players and coaches, they will say that I am friendly,” he said in mirth.
“I only retaliate when my team is under attack. Other than that, I do my best to work together for the betterment of the sport,” said Yongbo, who loves to play golf.
And singing is another Yongbo’s passion. He has even produced a CD that is marketed in karaokes in China, Malaysia and Singapore.
Yongbo is here for the Maybank Malaysian Open starting tomorrow at the Putra Stadium. China, however, are not represented by their best shuttlers. But with Yongbo at the helm, one cannot discount the Chinese going back with a few titles.