Interview with Liew Daren
Liew Darren, born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 6 of August 1987. He is currently ranked number 2 behind Lee Chong Wei in the BAM. He's one of the promising players that are in the elite squad of Malaysia. Currently he has represented Malaysia in numerous team events such as Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the 2011 Sea Games.
1. How old are you now?
24 years old, 6 of August 1987
2. At what age did you start playing badminton?
7 years old, I picked it up from my dad. At the age of 10 years old, I entered the KL State team.
3. Is badminton your number 1 passion and interest?
Yes, but I'm quite keen in football too. Following the English Premier League.
4. Were you good in other sports as well or badminton was just 'it?
5. Before being drafted to the national team, which state did you represent for?
Kuala Lumpur state team.
6. And you were drafted in the national squad because you won some national championships?
I went through the annual BAM selection when I was 16 years old. Playing matches and doing physical exercises.
7. Was it your intention to be a professional player from the start?
Yes it was my dream, since I was in the state team at 12 to 13 years old.
8. How do you find the route of becoming a national player for Malaysia, easy or extremely hard?
Extremely hard, it requires a lot of sacrifices and time investment.
9. What has been the most difficult barrier for you to overcome in order to become a professional badminton player?
I would say the crazy training schedule. I have to go morning and evening training session every day. Six times a week. The challenging part is, sustaining in mental and consistency aspect. After some time I got used to it.
10. Have you ever thought of quitting?
Yes of course, when I was around 20 years old. At that time I felt really down, there's no result in international tournaments and the strenuous training schedule. Now I'm slowly picking up as I have more opportunities to play tournaments.
11. Are you playing and training full time now?
12. Are you enjoying it?
Haha not really, I've been doing this for a long time. I'm kind of got use to it. It's like my daily routine. It's my job.
13. Are you happy with your progress in the game so far?
Not to say I'm satisfied, there's still much more of improvement still needs to be worked on. Especially in the physical strength and mental toughness area.
14. Have you ever considered playing in doubles?
Nope, not at all.
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, the especially from the press and BAM when I'm the second ranked player in the Malaysia squad behind Chong Wei. From my coach Rashid Sidek as well.
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?
Extremely hard I would say, especially where we currently have great player like Chong Wei. From my opinion, I believe I can be as good as Chong Wei to challenge the best in the world but there's a lot of elements I'm yet to master such as the fitness, steadiness when under pressure, and the consistency.
17. Which other young players are being groomed just like you at this stage to take over from the senior players?
At the moment we have a big group of back up players, Iskandar Zulkarnain, Muhammad Syawal, Misbun Ramdan, Goh Soon Huat, Lim Fang Yang, Chan Kwong Beng but Chong Wei Feng and me are one the of the senior ones. We are considered in the elite squad.
18. There is currently still a big gap to fill between the young players and the senior players. Why is it so?
Probably, the lack of experience and they are not so hardworking.
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?
Send the juniors for more tournament exposure and whereas, I'm getting a lot of tournament exposure now. But these exposures have to be done in a young age.
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, what's your view on this?
At the moment, I have nothing to say but to agree but in the future no one knows what will happen.
21. To become a successful player, a lot of sacrifices have to be made. Do you think it is worthwhile?
If you can be successful then I would say it'll be worthwhile, but if things don't get your way there's nothing you can do about it. Most importantly, giving your best. It's a gamble. That's a chance you got to take to become a world class badminton player.
22. What do you think of the new rally points scoring system?
It's faster, people playing at a faster pace. There's not much rallies, more on getting points fast. All in all, it requires an attacking style of play.
23. Currently which player you admire the most, both at the local and the international scene?
Taufik Hidayat he is very skilful and talented.
24. What is the highlight of your career so far?
Winning the Taiwan Open International Challenge in 2005. Recently this year, I've upset some big names. Lee hyun Il and Simon Santoso, in Taiwan Open and Indonesia Open respectively.
25. Who do you regard as the all time best player?
Lin Dan, he won everything there is to win in badminton. He does it numerous times.
26. What is your strength in your game?
27. Which part of your game can be improved?
Haha, I would say almost everything of course. There's a lot room for improvement in defence, fitness and mental toughness.
28. What do you think of the Malaysia badminton scene? Is it going uphill or downhill?
Currently it's going uphill because we have Lee Chong Wei, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong.
29. China seems to be producing young players in abundance capable to challenge for international honours. Why do you think so?
China has bigger pool of players. It's easier for them to pick out talents. They even started playing full time at younger age with all the support even in their clubs. For me, before entering the national junior squad. I still need to support myself, in equipments , food and etc. When I was in the junior squad I trained only half day as there's school to attend.
30. Is the gap really that big between Malaysia badminton and China?
No, it's not far. I believe I can take on anyone of them accept Lin Dan.
31. Do you personally think Malaysia Badminton can recapture its previous glory?
Yes I believe so, but it's harder now as now China has really strong men's double. Previously, when Malaysia won the Thomas Cup in 1992 till early of 2000's there's not really strong doubles pair in China.
32. In your view, what more can be done by our sports ministry or BAM to help the above cause?
Give more tournament exposure for the junior players. As for me, I'm getting to play more tournaments now, now it's getting myself together and producing result.
33. Who is your current coach?
Rashid Sidek and Teh Tseu Bok.
34. How is the coaching standard in Malaysia?
I guess it's quite good as it's the national sport.
35. What is your current training regime like?
Every morning I have court training. Monday to Saturday accept Thursday. On Thursday I'll have track training (running). Monday, Wednesday, Friday evening I'll have gym training.
36. What do you think of the recent appointment of Yoo Jae Sung as the national men's doubles coach?
He's here for improving Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong. It's for Malaysia players to be exposed to Korean training style, but time will tell if it's good for Koo and Tan.
37. What is your advice for other aspiring badminton players?
Work hard, commitment, sacrifice and don't give up.
38. Do you consider being a professional badminton player a rewarding career?
Haha like I said before, if my career is successful I would say yes.
39. When do you expect a breakthrough on the international scene?
It's hard to say, but my target would be next year, after the Olympic Games in London.
40. What is your aspiration as a badminton player? What would you like to achieve?
Everything that a badminton player wants to achieve, an Olympic medal, World Championship, Super Series title and of course winning the Thomas Cup.
41. What is your immediate aim?
Sea Games in Jakarta, Indonesia; My target would be winning at least a silver medal in the team event and a medal in the individual event.
41. How confident are you in becoming Malaysia No.1 singles player?
Well, there's inner confident. It's more difficult doing than saying. But I believe and confident I can do it. Probably 70 to 80 percent (Daren laughs)
42. 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?
There's no statement I would make, when I play tournaments and there's results. That would be my statement.
43. Badminton-information.com is planning to start a badminton league. Do you think it will increase the level of the players especially the back up players? And why?
Yes, it's a very good thing. More tournament exposure and opportunity to prove themselves.
44. Do you support the league ?
Yes I do!
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