Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thomas Cup 2008

Sigh. Another year goes by and still no Thomas Cup. Quite a waste actually. Again we were so close that we could even touch it. It's not like we lack the capabilities. Badminton is one of the very few sports that Malaysia has been able to excel in. A lot of us grow up playing badminton and have very good memories of it at one time or another.

Mine was in 1992 where the Thomas Cup returned to Malaysia. It just so happened that we had tuition at the time but fortunately, our tuition teacher was also hooked on the game so I easily excused myself every half an hour or so to check the results and update everyone. :-) It was an amazing game. Foo Kok Keong was at the twilight of his competitive career and his opponent Alan Budi Kusuma was in form. And theirs was the decider game. And you know what? Foo Kok Keong won! Not because of superior skills... Not because Alan was not playing well. But it was because Foo Kok Keong fought... and he fought hard. The nation's pride on his shoulders. He fought and he triumphed. Sadly, the pride in representing their country and also the fighting spirit is very rare in our athletes nowadays. Well... I could be wrong... Ultimately, I'm not a sports analyst and I was never really good in sports as well.

But anyway, through the years it has always been up and down and for some time, badminton was pretty much dominated by Indonesia and also China. Even Denmark & Japan has also improved significantly.

Recently, it seemed that we were finally catching up again and there were notable events such as Hafiz Hashim and most recently Koo Kien Keat & Tan Boon Heong winning the All England. Unfortunately, as is the case with most of our athletes nowadays, with the exception of Nicol David, the consistency is just not there. At any rate, our players have improved in recent years and except for the singles where I think the only reliable and consistent player is Lee Chong Wei, we have 3 reasonably strong doubles pairs.

Which brings us back to the recently concluded Thomas Cup 2008. It's really sad that Choong Tan Fook fell ill. With the performance that he and Koo Kien Keat gave us against Japan, I believe if they were paired off again, they would have easily beat China's top pair. It's sad considering how promising Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong's partnership was just a year ago but that's the way it is I suppose in competitive badminton. Their partnership is just not working and in any partnership, the feeling that you can depend on your partner is of utmost importance. This bond is just not there. As such, I really had a gnawing feeling that they were gonna lose. And I was right.

In the singles, Wong Choon Hann was just outclassed by Bao Chun Lai. Wong Choon Hann was one of our best players but the fact is, Bao Chun Lai's just younger and faster. And in a game like badminton, these qualities tend to dictate the winner and loser. And with Chen Jin in his prime...

Oh well, all we can do is ponder about what might have been...

Ultimately, I guess they have tried their best. And who am I to criticise them anyway... I'm not there and I'm not that great a player myself... :-) Maybe next Thomas Cup!!


kheefatt said...

Malaysia last won Thomas Cup in 1992 not 2002! :P

puayaun said...

Ooops.... technical mistake... Thanks for pointing that out... :-D