Interview with Rahman Sidek
Mohamad Rahman Mohd Sidek (Nickname:Aman) (born 20 September 1965)in Banting, Selangor) is a former doubles badminton player from Malaysia and a international doubles player during the mid 1980s to early 1990s. He's the 4th of the 5 legendary Sidek brothers who played on the international scene.Winning a number of international title such as the Canada Open, German Open, Swiss Open with partner Ong Ewe Chye(Ong Ewe Hock's brother). Rahman Sidek was a member in the winning team at the Thomas Cup 1992.
1. What age did you start playing?
6 or 7 years old at my home town Banting, around 11 years old I entered the state team.
2. Was it your intention to be a professional player from the start ?
At younger stage, I picked up the sport because following the footsteps of my brothers. From the start, I picked up the sport is for discipline because at the village kids a very mischievous, so slowly the interests started to pick up, then the interest build up for to enter the state team and then to the national team.
3. When did you realize you were good enough to be a world beater ?
At 12 years old, I was national junior(MSSM) champion under 12. At that, we can see there's potential and talent.
4. How were you noticed at the national level ?
At Under 12 is where we see potential, so normally during the under 18 category is where they see the potential to become a national, it's the stage where players upgraded to the national backup squad. I was the under 18 national champion(MSSM) with Rashid. So I was noticed at national level at around 17 years old.
5. Which year was you drafted into the national squad ?
Around 15 or 16 years old I was drafted to the national junior squad. At 18 years old after high school, I was drafted to the national squad.
6. How you were drafted to the national squad?
Winning national circuit tournaments, under 15 categories. At that time, we national junior squad we don't train with each other every day. We have don't have the facilities, like we have today like the Bukit Jalil Sport school, where players get to train together almost full time. During my time, we national junior players were trained in the state facilities, only during school holiday we have centralised training. The juniors today are very lucky.
7. Have you ever considered making a name in singles?
At the junior stage, I was concentrating on singles but I played both principles. Few years later, after high school BAM forced me to play doubles; to be honest doubles is not my preferred principle. But at that time there's not enough doubles players. During that time, the BAM selection they only play singles but now the players have a choice to choose their speciality through the selection.
8. Did any of your batch mates made the same grade as you? If not, what was the reason?
Yes Ong Ewe Chye, the brother of Ong Ewe Hock. Ong Ewe Chye is my partner, we several Open international titles such as Canada Open, Swiss Open, German Open and etc. We were in the third placing in the World Grand Prix. There were many who didn't make it, probably because they can't sustained.
9. How many years were you on the scene?
16 years old to 27 years old. I retired because there's no partner for me, when my partner quit the sport. In my heart I still want to play international badminton but the national management forces me to become a coach for the national doubles team from 1994 to 1997. I had to choice.
10. On your playing career which was the highlight of your career?
Thomas Cup 1992, even though I was a reserve. It feels great, to be part of the team. The world champions. Another highlight would be third placing in the World Grand Prix.
11. Which incident would you consider as a low point of your career?
Losing in 1st round, that's the most experience I despised, as you've have train so hard or going to compete far away from home and losing in first round.
12. How would you summarize your career?
Well I'm not satisfied at all, I still feel I could do better. But i had to stop, because of the bad management of the BAM during that time. I had no choice. It's all behind me now, I'm living a happy life now, having a family and grooming players for Malaysia badminton.
13. Do you still play ? What other sports other than badminton ?
Yes of course, I still love the sport very much. It's part of my blood, if I didn't play I can't sleep well at night haha. Nowadays, I couldn't match with the younger players speed and strength and stamina. It's more like playing with experience and tricky shots to steal points. Yeah sometimes, I do play futsal (indoor football) with my friends.
14. What do you think of the new points scoring system?
From my own point of view, the people who is playing, they don't really enjoy it. As for the spectators, they enjoy watching. The 21 points scoring system, you got be perfect. In term of maturity, technical, skills, consistency and etc. I prefer the old scoring format, the 15 points system. You can enjoy the game, it's more satisfying. If you good fitness, you will even enjoy more.
15. Which player you admire at the start, both at the local and the international scene ?
Lim Swie King, he's a great attacking player.
16. As a player, what was your strength ? Weakness, if any ?
Attacking play and aggressiveness; as for the weak point, my defence is not so good. In badminton, very unlikely you can see a player who is good at both elements. It's not impossible, but very unlikely. Only a few, maybe Lin Dan is a complete and the legendary Park Joo Bong, he can partner with anyone. Truly a legend and a world class player.
17. Is it important to have a favorite stroke? What was yours then?
Yes, it's very important. A player must have at least one weapon. For example, my brothers Razif and Jalani Sidek, they win the game by defending because they strength is defending. Their defence has a lot of varieties, not only lifting it back to the court. They have counter attack and creating angles with their defence. They use their strength which is defence to create an opening for their attack. Especially in this 21 points scoring system, you have to polish your weapon. In this scoring format, you have attack or take control first wins. In this new scoring system, we hardly see these days any players; playing any trick shot or deceptive shots. Now is all about speed and power. It's about keeping the shuttle across the net, the game has lost its art of badminton.
18. Were you good in other sports as well or badminton was just 'it?
Just badminton, during my schooling days as well; it's just school and badminton. My parents don't really allow me to play too many sports. Just focused on one.
19. Can you name a few international players, current or retired, who you regard as best or famous for a specific technique or an area of skills?
Park Joo Bong for his anticipation and court coverage with his partner. He knows how to adjust, that's why he can partner with anyone. He's a thinking player. For player today is Lin Dan is an overall player, a complete player. For the doubles today, I don't see anything special. Everyone is quite equal.
20. Who do you regard as the all time best player?
For technique play, I would say Zhao Jian Huo. His skills and technique is extraordinary even though his winning title consistency is not as good as Yang Yang. He's a better player than Yang Yang but not so stable. We can't compare the players back in the days and the players today, as the game has totally changed. For players today, we can compare Lin Dan and Chong Wei. Lin Dan is better than Chong Wei from my point of view.
21. Who were your coaches during your international days?
There were many coaches, during my junior days is James Selvaraj. Tan Yee Khan for short period of time. A few from China, Fang Kah Xiang, Chen Jiang Xie and Han Jian.
22. Can you spell out the difference in coaching styles from China, Malaysia, Denmark and
Indonesia? What are their Strengths and Weaknesses? I would say it's around the same. China and Indonesia is more focused on physical aspects. Malaysia is more on general and Denmark is more on court work and long distance running. It's hard to say, but it's more than less the same.
23. Do good players make good coaches?
Not necessarily, the approaching is different. The tricky part is, teaching and transferring. For example, Rudy Hartono is one of the greatest player ever, but he's not coaching. Coaching is quite a different discipline, you have to learn.
24. Any piece of advice would like give those aspiring players?
If you want to play badminton, don't fool around. Heart, commitment and discipline is very essential. If you can commit to these elements it's better not to waste your time. Better is not an easy sport, there's a lot of time investment and you must be good in all elements. Physical, skills, mental strength and etc. Badminton is a thinking a game as well.
25. You are coaching at the moment, whats the diffrence?
As a player, all you have To do is taking care of yourself. It's more enjoyable role to play compare to coaching. As a player, just train hard and during tournament win or lose you can just go back home. Where as a coach, you need to think of a programme how to improve your players: different players , different character and weaknesses. There responsibility is bigger and sometimes it could be very stressful. There's a lot of thinking and discussion have to be involve. This is all base on coaching competitive players. As for coaching basic players, it's much easier as you're just focusing on basic skills.
26. What are the basic requirements to playing good badminton ?
Sustaining the right attitude and discipline is the number 1 at this list to play good badminton. It is very important to sustain it long term, not short term. A lot of players who can't manage to breakthrough because of they couldn't sustain it. Even if they have talent, there no point if they don't have the right attitude and discipline.
27. What's was training regime like when you were playing?
Jogging and shadow(footwork) is an everyday must. At least 30 minutes a day of jogging. Dumbbells training is also very important. When I was playing internationally, I trained 6 days a week.
28. When you were playing professionally. Do you ever thought of giving up?
Yes of course, every player had this thought. Usually after losing in the 1st round. No players want to lose in the 1st round of the tournament. The most important part, is only that time and you must learn how to recover and perform better next time.
29. Who do you think is current upcoming players in Malaysia?and why?
Zulfadli the recent Asian Junior Champion and World Junior Champion and Misbun Ramdan.
30. Do you see any players in the world to take over players like Lin Dan , Peter Gade, Lee Chong Wei and etc.?
For China they have Chen Long, but for Malaysia there's no one at the moment.
31. As one of the legendary Sidek brothers, what is your vision in Malaysia Badminton?
Bringing up talents at the grass root level in Malaysia; now badminton is a very popular sport. It's a recognised as an Olympic Sport. Competition level is getting harder.
32. Is there any ways for BAM to improve their systems for better results on international scene?
Well based on my point of view, the system now is a bit slow. The players today have to go through stages, such as sport school for around 5 years, then national back up another 5 years and then only national elite player. That's why we produced champions only when they are 26 or 27 years old. During my time, we have head coach to pick up the players from schools to national squad and train with elite players around 2 or 3 times a week. Until now my brothers are the youngest to win the All England title in Malaysia. If you see talent, you must keep them, bring them out. In my point of view, BAM must have a coaching director, where he spots talent.
33. Badminton-information.com is planning to start a badminton league. Do you think it will increase the level of Malaysia badminton? Do you support the league?
Yes it's a brilliant idea, but it's not easy to start it up. If it happens, yes it's very good for promoting badminton and as well player exposure. Yes I do support the league.
Return from Rahman Sidek Interview to Pro Badminton Players' Interviews
Return from Rahman Sidek Interview to Badminton Information
Badminton Information on Facebook