Badminton: James: It’s just not right to delay Justin’s growth

PETALING JAYA: Don’t hold Justin Hoh (pic) back.

Former badminton great Datuk James Selvaraj has called for the singles shuttler to be promoted to the national team to fast-track his progress.

The 18-year-old Justin made his mark in the international scene last month when he bagged his first two senior titles in the Croatian Open and Bonn International in Germany. Prior to that, he had won the national Under-21 title.

James said the presence of Justin will create more competition for players like Ng Tze Yong, Leong Jun Hao and Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin in the national singles department.

“He has shown great promise, he should be moved up quickly. I don’t know what they are waiting for,” said James, who is a member of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching and training committee.

“I’ve made this request as I believe this is one of the best ways to improve the quality and standard of our players.

“Indonesia’s Rudy Hartono was 18 when he won the All-England. He did not wait for the process of completing his junior years before making it to the senior team. He was given the opportunity to play at a young age.”

Currently, Justin is under the care of Datuk Misbun Sidek in the junior team and the plan is for his charge to compete in the World Junior Championships in Spain in October.

“He can still play in the world meet even if he is in the senior team. Probably, that will even increase his chances of winning,” said James.

Meanwhile, James added that national coaching doubles director Rexy Mainaky has been given a challenge to improve the tactical game of Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik before the World Championships in September in Japan.

“I’m getting frustrated with these doubles players. They keep lifting the shuttle which makes it easy for their opponents to smash it down. In doubles, their forte should be attacking,” said James.

“We have brought up this matter at our meeting. Rexy must change the way Aaron-Wooi Yik play. If not, they will continue to be where they are while other pairs will move further ahead of them.”

Yesterday, James was one of the guests in a special gathering of former players for the book launching of ”Leaving a Smashing Legacy” by M. Venugopal, who is a former national player and is currently the Badminton World Federation (BWF) major. events manager.

It was written to recognize the contribution of the late Datuk Punch Gunalan, James and a host of players from the Malaysian Indian community from the 1960s to 1980s.

“It’s nice to see players like Datuk Punch being highlighted for their years of dedication in the sport and the lives they have touched. Indeed, it will be a legacy to inspire others,” added James.


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