We have the system and talent, says Hafiz

We have the system and talent, says Hafiz

The tall former All-England champion (2003) is straight faced when it comes to the first advice given to a potential trainee.

By Moni Mathews (Principal Correspondent)

Published: Thu 11 Jun 2015, 1:28 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:13 PM

Mohammad Hafiz Hashim. — Supplied photo

Dubai — Mohammad Hafiz Hashim, the former Malaysian great, is a friendly and patient man when it comes to grooming youngsters.

Badminton’s Mr Cucumber Cool who is here with his Kuala Lumpur-based Jaguh Tangkis Badminton Club trainees Zairul Hafiz bin Zainudin, Nur Izzuddin bin Rumsani and Mohamad Razlan Shah bin Mohamad Ridzuan Shah reckons the sport is still popular among the younger generations in his country but requires more push and encouragement from all sides.

The tall former All-England champion (2003) is straight faced when it comes to the first advice given to a potential trainee.

“My first session with them would be to tell them of the tough but worthwhile road ahead of them. First and foremost it is about the choice they have made – singles or doubles – both specialisations of their own,” 32-year old Hafiz said while talking to Khaleej Times on Tuesday night after his super league matches at the 38th India Club super league matches.

“I am a singles bred man and I want to keep it that way. My expertise on the paired event are limited so I tell a promising youngster or a fresh hand at the sport to look to another academy for learning the doubles trade.”

Hafiz says the big gap between the levels of Lee Chong Wei who is in his mid thirties and the next grade of senior and junior players in Malaysia is slightly worrying but nothing to be very alarmed about.

“The systems and basic government initiations are present back home. Academies like mine which are new can be given the proper kick-start if right from the beginning we go forward with the goals and monitored progress made by everyone concerned instead of only the academy taking up all the responsibilities. Getting dependable and appreciative sponsors is a challenge and this is again another high line of specialisation which only professionals must handle,” he continued.

Hafiz continued: “The mentality of everyone concerned and not just the youngsters which is important. The whys and ifs have to be given the right kind of perspective and place and then we will see the fruits coming in.

“China and Indonesia have a more different way with the government’s role being more direct and deep rooted, less so in the Jakarta managed state academies these days. Badminton is picking up fast in the other continents as well and globalisation will help us to gain from the experiences of the others elsewhere. We must be prepared to learn and adapt as quickly as possible.”

Hafiz is one of the most successful Malay badminton players aside from the famous Sidek brothers led by the singles legend Misbun who later coached Hafiz.

He is popularly known for his cool approach on and off the court regardless of the situation. His elder brother Roslin Hashim too was an accomplished national player.

Hafiz also won silver in the Thomas Cup and clinched titles and medals in a number of major events including the Commonwealth singles and team golds and Sudirman Cup bronze.

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