National shuttler Jun Hao’s yo-yo form a big worry for BAM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are concerned with the inconsistency shown by men’s singles shuttler Leong Jun Hao as he is touted to be a gold medal prospect at the 2023 SEA Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in May.

The former Asian junior champion crashed out in the second round of both the China Masters in Ruichang on Wednesday (March 15) and Thailand Masters in February.

And this has led to BAM singles coaching director Wong Choong Hann voicing his concern over the world number 71 shuttler’s performance so far this season.

“Indeed (Jun Hao’s performance is) quite worrying because the training programme and drills are about 80 to 90 per cent similar for all the shuttlers. We also conduct specific training for each player.

“However, it looks like the training programme is not working because he (Jun Hao) played well towards the end of last year. This year, he seems to be struggling to find his rhythm but we will try to help him,” he told reporters when met at the Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara, here, today.

Commenting on Jun Hao’s performance at the China Masters, Choong Hann said the coaches will do all they can to try and rectify his weaknesses as there are just 49 days left before the start of the SEA Games.

“We entered him for the China Masters as part of his preparations for the SEA Games but he did not perform up to expectations. However, we want to see what are his weaknesses before we head to the SEA Games.

“There are still some more tournaments that he will be competing in. So, from there, we will focus on sharpening up his game. Hopefully, Jun Hao can bounce back from his indifferent form and be better prepared,” he said.

Last year, Jun Hao impressed the coaches when he emerged as champion in the Indonesia Masters and reached the quarter-finals in three tournaments — the Poland Open, Indonesia International Challenge and Malaysia International Challenge.

The SEA Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia will be held from May 5-17. — Bernama