Monday January 28, 2013
Rashid wants Daren, Wei Feng and Arif to start winning titles
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: Men’s singles shuttlers Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif have been promoted to the elite squad this year. And national singles chief coach Rashid Sidek wants them to start acting like one.
Rashid said the 25-year-old Daren, Wei Feng, 25, and Arif, 23 should not be considered back-up shuttlers or second stringers in the national team any more.
“They have had enough international experience and exposure. It is time for them to step up and be counted,” said Rashid.
Daren and Wei Feng trains under Rashid and Tey Seu Bock while Arif comes under Hendrawan’s jurisdiction.
“We cannot have Lee Chong Wei alone in the elite squad. With the inclusion of these three players, we now have a total of four,” said Rashid after witnessing the final of the inaugural Pro One Badminton Championships in Cheras yesterday.
“Daren, Wei Feng and Arif will have to start acting like elite shuttlers now and they should display the same attitude like Chong Wei during training and competitions,” added the former international.
With the promotion, Rashid expects the trio to start winning titles this year instead of just relying on Chong Wei who has already won two titles – the Korean Open and Malaysian Open – this season.
After a disappointing outing at the Malaysian Open last week, Rashid is hoping for a better show from Daren, Wei Feng and Arif at the All-England in Birmingham from March 5-10.
“All three have showed marked improvement in the game over the last one year. But unfortunately, they pale in comparison with Chong Wei.
“They will always be compared with Chong Wei. Instead of taking it as a pressure, all three of them should compete among themselves to show that they are the next player to replace Chong Wei. I encourage healthy rivalry in the team.
“I hope they will perform better at the All-England as all of them are going together with Chong Wei.”
A year ago, Daren achieved a personal breakthrough when he reached the All-England quarter-finals. He then followed it up with a French Open title.
As for Wei Feng and Arif, they have been battling with inconsistencies over the years.
Rashid said the back-up shuttlers – Iskandar Zulkarnain, Goh Soon Huat, Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub, Goh Giap Chin and Loh Wei Sheng – under Hendrawan’s charge would also have to show marked improvement this year.
“Hendrawan, Seu Bock and I are working very closely to push up the standards of these players.
“Now, the elite and back-up players train at the same time. There will be plenty of sparring opportunities with Chong Wei. It will surely expedite their progress.”
On two other players – Tan Kian Meng and Chong Yee Han – who were recently promoted from the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), Rashid said he was pleased with their progress.
“Kian Meng and Yee Han are very talented. They are under a three-month probation but they should make it to the back-up squad.
“I am sending them to the Vietnam International (in April) to see where they stand,” added Rashid.