FOCUS: Winning gold in Rio de Janeiro first priority
THE BA of Malaysia's (BAM) 12-year blueprint may look good on paper but former international Razif Sidek believes the association's focus should be on a comprehensive four-year programme to earn Malaysia gold in the 2016 Olympics.
BAM has not made a decision on a chief coach for the national team, has delayed discussing Malaysia's London Olympics shortcomings for almost a month and has also not given any clear indication to the coaches or players on what could be the drastic changes in store, leading Razif to wonder what kind of formula the parent body can offer for a 12-year-period that involves three Olympic cycles.
It is a known fact that China began it's surge to dominate the sport during the 2000 Olympics but their programme was so good that they won four gold in the same year in Sydney, three gold each in 2004 and 2008 and made a complete sweep of five gold in the London Olympics last month.
Razif feels the highly ambitious long-term plan is an attempt by BAM to buy time and escape criticism if it fails again in 2016, as the current resources look thin and Malaysia are in danger of returning empty-handed from Rio.
"Let's forget the 12-year plan. It is just too long and players who are supposed be groomed until 2024 are probably not even part of the national junior programme yet. BAM should focus on a comprehensive programme for 2016 and the objective must be to win gold," said Razif.
"It is fine to have a long-term plan but it only looks good on paper. BAM is not even sure whether it should appoint a chief coach, hasn't discussed at length on what course of action should be taken although the Olympics ended a month ago and the coaches and players are also unsure of the future.
"BAM must handle the immediate problems fast and also work meticulously on a four-year programme first.
"If they are finding it so hard to identify the right individuals to make a four-year plan successful, how are they going to get people to make their 12-year dream a reality?
"It is good to start with four years, with a succession plan that runs until 2020.
"The men's doubles looks to be the only event that could give Malaysia a slight chance of winning in 2016 and if splitting Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong can create a pair that can battle for gold, it has to be done.
"The coaching and training committee has plenty of tough decisions to make and it should take a strong stand during the meeting on Sept 8. Delaying decisions will only make things difficult to achieve in 2016."