An experienced and well connected sports official had this to say : "Do you know that there is nothing on any paper anywhere that states the shuttlers were being trained for Thomas and Uber Cup, All they had were trainings as usual and Thomas and Uber Cup were just another tournament for them."
Them here refers to Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), the guardians of the sport which saw Malaysia being humbled on home ground. Not only that the finalists, China and Indonesia also showed that they will be in charge for the next 10 years.
Now, I don't know of what papers there are in BAM or maybe all papers have been taken over by National Sports Council (NSC). All I can say is that I am not surprised. We won the cup in 1992 because of the Thomas-Uber-Olympics (TUO) program, the brain-child of the then BAM President, Tan Sri Elyas Omar and of course executed by P. Gunalan.
In Malaysian sports, what is not there can be made to be somewhere and what is somewhere, can be made to be no where and so on. So, I don't plan to ask anyone if there was a program gearing the players to peak at the Thomas Cup finals.
I was also not surprised to read that the players and coaches blamed everything and almost everyone, including the media, for the failure. I am not suprised that BAM noted all the excuses and made a press statement. By now I know not to expect the BAM officials to tell the players that "if you are good, the media, the weather and the stadium cannot cause you to fail miserably."
Nothing surprises in Malaysian sport. The story is the same everywhere. I was told of a decision by a certain organization to appoint a person as an assistant General Manager, but the staffs were told that he was appointed as GM. I was asked to write about the whole story in proper prespective, but what's the point of doing so?
These are the people running sports in the country and these are the people elected by those suppossedly wanting a change. Lying, cheating and blaming every thing is part of an unhealthy culture in Malaysian sport and, unfoutunately, no sign of changes coming soon.
In the meantime, maybe this would be a good time for the Government to insist that all coaches, including and especially badminton, have proper qualifications. At least, the standard set by the National Coaching Board. Then again, probably, its just wishful thinking on my part.
In the 1980s, P. Gunalan tried to sent people like Misbun Sidek to attend courses overseas. I remember writting the story but cannot remember the exact month or year. But they came back after a short while. Later many accuse Gunalan of not being interested in their welfare.