Chan Kwong Beng Interview
All great players like Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei, Taufik and the rest started from somewhere in their early ages.
Most of them played badminton at an early age, representing their schools at the start then slowly rising through the ranks from district player to state and finally being noticed by the national team.
All of them were unknown to the World then, not until they made the breakthrough in the international scene through sheer hard work and determination and of course talent plays a part as well. And most importantly, they took the chance when there was an opening and this separates the players who made it and those who doesnt.
Any great player will still have to retire one day and their standing in the world of badminton will be replaced by other young players just like them when they were younger. So who will be the next great player? Time will tell...
For today, its a great pleasure for Badminton-Information.com to interview Chan Kwong Beng a young player from Malaysia. He was born in 1988 and currently is a member of the Malaysia national teams men singles back-up squad.
He won the MSSM (national championship) under-15 and under-18 mens singles category. He also reached the National GP Semi Finals and the finals of the Malaysia Pahang Open 2009.
On the international front, he was champion for an under-18 age invitational championship held in Singapore. He also reached the semi finals of the Vietnam Satellite Tournament and the Finals of the Singapore Satellite Tournament.
I found Chan Kwong Beng humble and friendly through this interview. According to many, he is a very hardworking and dedicated player. Hopefully one day we will see his major breakthrough in the international scene.
Below is the interview with Chan Kwong Beng:
1. How old are you now?
I am 21 years of age.
2. At what age did you start playing badminton?
I started playing badminton at the age of 9 and started to receive proper coaching only when I was 11.
3. Is badminton your number 1 passion and interest?
Yes! Nothing else matters.
4. Were you good in other sports as well or badminton was just 'it?
I played football too but just for fun. So badminton is the only sport that I am good at.
5. Before being drafted to the national team, which state did you represent for?
I am from Taiping, Perak. So I represented Perak before joining the national team.
6. And you were drafted in because you won some national championships?
I was drafted in early to the national set up. I was only 13 years old then and I was rather lucky to get in because I was not ranked the highest on the list of players. My ranking was only 8th at that time.
Some higher ranked players did not take up the offer and also the coach saw something in me and wanted me to join. And I am glad I was given this opportunity.
I won the MSSM (National Championships) mens singles under-15 and under-18 category subsequently.
7. Was it your intention to be a professional player from the start?
No. It was a natural progression. I just trained and played to my best every day.
8. How do you find the route of becoming a national player for Malaysia, easy or extremely hard?
Very hard. (Kwong Beng said with a chuckle)
9. What has been the most difficult barrier for you to overcome in order to become a professional badminton player?
I would say that training is the hardest part. There are a lot of different trainings, some for skills, some for fitness and some to improve other parts of your game. A lot of hard work, effort and discipline are needed in these trainings.
There is a Chinese saying, "A minute of performance on stage will need 10 years of training off stage." That is so true. A lot of training is needed before you can turn into a professional player. So to me, training is the most difficult followed by the pressure to perform.
10. Have you ever thought of quitting?
Yes of course! But not anymore after I finished my secondary school.
11. Are you playing full time now?
Yes I am a full time badminton player now.
12. Are you enjoying it?
Yes I do!
13. Are you happy with your progress in the game so far?
Not too bad. I am somewhat satisfied but feel there are plenty of room for improvement.
14. Have you ever considered playing in doubles?
I have thought about it last time, just a bit. But now not anymore and I want to concentrate on singles only.
15. Do you feel any pressure from your coach or BAM that one day you will have to fill in the void left by Lee Chong Wei, Wong Choon Han and etc. once they retire?
Yes, I do feel it from my coach Misbun Sidek.
16. How hard is it to fill in the shoes of these senior players especially when you have players like Chong Wei who is currently world No.1?
I must say that its very hard, Chong Wei is such a great player. Whether or not I can be like him in the future will very much depend on myself. I need to have the highest level of expectation for myself and I must be discipline enough to follow through.
17. Which other young players are being groomed just like you at this stage to take over from the senior players?
There are a few other young players in the wings. They are Arif Latif, Liew Darren, Tan Chun Seang and Chong Wei Feng. Our standard are almost the same and there is always a 50-50 chance of winning and losing when playing against each other.
18. There is currently still a big gap to fill between the young players and the senior players. Why is it so?
Actually it is very hard to explain why. I only can say that given time, younger players like me and the others should be able to catch up. But I cant tell how long it will take as different player mature differently, some at an earlier age while some at a later stage. Individual talent plays a part as well.
19. In your view, what can be done to close this gap and help more young players like you to succeed in the international level?
I think the most important thing is that the young player must be hard working. Other than that, I also hope BAM will give more opportunity to young players to participate in more international tournaments to gain more experience.
20. A lot of people say that at the moment, there is no one in Malaysia capable of filling in the shoes of Lee Chong Wei. Being a young Malaysian player yourself, whats your view on this?
I really wish one day I can be as successful as Chong Wei and I am hopeful in doing so. But it all comes down to how I fight for it. Having potential is one thing, fulfilling it is another.
21. To become a successful player, a lot of sacrifices have to be made. Do you think it is worthwhile?
Yes. Definitely worthwhile.
22. What do you think of the new rally points scoring system?
Under this system, players will want to attack more. They have to be fast yet stable on court. Higher ranked players cannot treat their lower ranked opponents lightly anymore as every points count. Being focus is very important in this scoring system.
23. Currently which player you admire the most, both at the local and the international scene?
Last time my favorite player was Xie Xuenze from China but now my favorite player is Lee Chong Wei.
24. Who do you regard as the all time best player?
I would regard Xie Xuen Ze and Lee Chong Wei as the all time best players but if I can only choose one then it will be Chong Wei.
25. What is your strength in your game?
I believe it is my fitness.
26. Which part of your game can be improved?
Plenty! Because I am not Lee Chong Wei (Kwong Beng said jokingly). My game is still not mature enough and I still need to gain a lot more experience.
27. What do you think of the Malaysia badminton scene? Is it going uphill or downhill?
I think Malaysia badminton is going uphill. It is slowly progressing.
28. China seems to be producing young players in abundance capable to challenge for international honors. Why do you think so?
There are a lot of people that plays badminton in China so naturally competition is very intense for this sport. Millions of players in China will want to become the next Lin Dan or Zhang Ning and the only way they can succeed is to work extra hard. So that is why China have so many good young players.
29. Is the gap really that big between Malaysia badminton and China?
Personally, I dont think so. I think the standard of Malaysia badminton is not far from China and I believe we can catch up on them.
30. Do you personally think Malaysia Badminton can recapture its previous glory?
Yes I am confident that we can do it.
31. In your view, what more can be done by our sports ministry or BAM to help the above cause?
I think the sports ministry and BAM have given their best in assisting Malaysian badminton players. Now its down to the players themselves. They will have to prove their worth.
32. Who is your current coach?
At the moment it is Misbun Sidek.
33. How is the coaching standard in Malaysia?
It is good. To me, the coach is very important but maybe not the most important. The most important thing has to be the players work ethics. Even the best coach in the world will not be able to help us if we dont help ourselves.
34. What is your current training regime like?
I trained 6 days a week with Sunday being a rest day. From Monday to Friday I trained from 6:30am to 10am and another session is from 3pm to 5pm. On Saturday I only trained from 6:30am to 10am. My training programs include on court as well as off court trainings.
35. Andrew Chang BIA head coach say that you really are a hardworking and discipline player. Do you agree with him?
Am I? (Kwong Beng laughed.) Still ok definitely not perfect.
36. What do you think of the recent appointment of Hendrawan as the national mens singles coach?
I feel he is a very good coach and it will be a great addition to the BAM coaching set up. I am not certain if I will come under his guidance in the future but I will be happy to join his trainings.
37. What is your advice for other aspiring badminton players?
Dont give up and work harder.
38. Do you consider being a professional badminton player a rewarding career?
Yes I do.
39. In our previous interview with Lee Chong Wei, he did mention you as one of the young Malaysian players who have potential to succeed. Whats your view on this?
I think every young player has a future in badminton. It all depends on how we take on the challenges. But yes, I believe I can.
40. When do you expect a breakthrough on the international scene?
Not really sure. It can come anytime, maybe one year, maybe a few years, maybe never. All I can do is to treasure every opportunity that comes my way and to give my best in trainings and every tournament.
41. What is your aspiration as a badminton player? What would you like to achieve?
I want to win the Olympics and the World Championships.
42. What is your immediate aim?
I want to make a break through in my world ranking and rank under 70 within this year.
43. How confident are you in becoming Malaysia No.1 singles player?
I would say 50 ¨C 50 because the competition is intense and there are a lot good opponents around.
44. Would you like to take this opportunity to make a statement to the World of Badminton of what to expect of you in the coming years?
I dont think there is a need to make a statement as I am not the best player. I will slowly progress through hard work. When time pass and my results show, people will get to know my achievements.
I will also need to live a life of a true sports men and not an ordinary life. Having a correct lifestyle will definitely help me in achieving my dreams.
Return from Interview with Chan Kwong Beng to Pro Badminton Players' Interviews
Return from Interview with Chan Kwong Beng to Badminton Information
Badminton Information on Facebook