By; Michelle Liew
Malaysia has potential to perform well in the Thomas Cup and and is among the top four best teams in the tournament right now according to former men’s professional badminton player Koo Kien Keat.
His confidence stems from the fact that young players played very well in the Asian Badminton Team Championship (BATC) 2022 last February. He also reminded us that Lee Zii Jia was at the peak of his performance after emerging Asian champion last week.
“The quality of their performance at BATC is said to be good but, as we know, the voting for the Thomas Cup also plays an important role.
“There will definitely be additional pressure if we are interested in meeting a team that is said to be good. However, I feel they (the Malaysian team) can advance to the semi-finals,” he said.
Commenting further, Kien Keat said the understanding shown by the national players showed that they were able to perform well in not only in this championship (Thomas Cup) but in other tournaments in the future.
“Before, the national team had a combination of young and senior players, where only some were expected to deliver points. Now I feel the team is more balanced and they are not competing to show who is better,” he said.
The national men’s team booked their chance to the Thomas Cup after winning the BATC for the first time by beating defending champions Indonesia 3-0.
The last time Malaysia lifted the Thomas Cup was in 1992 when they beat Indonesia 3-2 in Kuala Lumpur.
The former national men’s doubles champion stressed that although most of them will be making their debut, he is still confident that their strength as teammates will help each other when on the court.
“When I first played in the Thomas Cup, me and my back-up teammates faced pressure because we have a lot of senior players with us. So, the back-up players needed to get points to prove our abilities to stay in the squad.”
“Now, I see that we have a lot of young players, so the issue of pressure and comparisons with each other will be reduced. That is actually a good start. Even when I browse through social media, I find the players also have a very good friendship with one another,” he said.