KUALA LUMPUR: Coach Rashid Sidek’s return to the national fold will be an extra motivation for Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren to soar high this month.
Both Wei Feng and Daren will compete in the Kuala Lumpur Open, which begins tomorrow. They will then compete in back-to-back tournaments in Denmark from Oct 20-25 and France from Oct 22-27.
Rashid, who quit as the singles coach on Sept 19, announced that he would resume work with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) on Tuesday.
A delighted Wei Feng said that he sorely missed his coach over the last 12 days.
“I have trained under him for the last eight years. Without him around, the training environment was totally different for me. Now that he is back, I am so motivated to do well,” said the world No. 17.
“I enjoyed my career best ranking at No. 12 under Rashid’s guidance. But after missing the Japan Open last month, my ranking has dropped to 17. I do hope to break into the top 10 by the end of this year. I intend to do well in the European tournaments.”
Wei Feng, who won the opening leg of the National Circuit in Kedah in June, said his immediate focus would be the KL Open.
“The KL Open is going to be quite open. I reckon the main challengers will be Daren, Iskandar (Zulkarnain Zainuddin) and Misbun Ramdan,” he said.
Daren, the world No. 16 and winner of the French Open last year, was also wearing a big smile yesterday.
“I am really glad that Rashid is back. Now, we can focus fully on our tournaments,” said the 26-year-old Daren.
“I will be happy to reach the KL Open final. As for the European tournaments, I hope to reach at least the quarter-finals of both the Denmark and France Opens,” he said.
“It will not be easy to defend the France Open because I will have the company of world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and all the top players from China. But I hope to put up a good showing to move into the top 10 in the world.”
In the KL Open, Wei Feng and Daren are the top two seeds.