Kuala Lumpur: Army discipline, early nights and grassroots development are among the prescriptions being suggested to improve Malaysian badminton -- still reeling after an embarrassing display at the recent Thomas & Uber Cups.
Even with men`s world number one Lee Chong Wei leading the charge, hosts Malaysia were drubbed 3-0 in the semi-finals of the Thomas Cup by China, while their women exited in the quarter-finals after a similar thrashing from Indonesia.
The tournament earlier this month was a huge disappointment for the badminton-crazy nation and prompted a great deal of soul-searching about what had gone wrong -- not all of it focused on skill and application.
"Discipline is crucial for the development of a player and as experienced internationals, the shuttlers should know how to follow the rules. Keeping late nights is definitely not helping them," National Sports Council boss Zolkples Embong said.
"If (Lee) Chong Wei can make it a point to sleep at 10pm, I`m sure the others can too. The onus is on them to avoid nightlife as it will disrupt their training the following day."
"I can arrange for an army officer to take charge of the camp if this what the players want," he added. "They should follow the rules which is the norm of a successful athlete without being coaxed to do so."
Because of the popularity of the sport, Malaysia has plenty of young players to pick from but turning raw talent into top singles players has been a problem, according to Al-Amin Majd of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
"I agree that our junior stars have failed to make the grade when they join the senior ranks -- especially the singles players," he told a newspaper.
"This is not so much a problem with the doubles ... but we have not been that successful in the singles department. This is something we have to look into."