Interview with Lim Fang Yang
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 doesn't.
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, it's a great pleasure for Badminton-Information.com to interview Lim Fang Yang a young rising star player from Malaysia. He was born in 1989 and currently is a member of the Malaysia national team men singles back-up squad. He won the Dutch Open Junior 2008 and was the semi-finalist at Asian Junior Championship 2008.
1. How old are you now?
22 years old
2. At what age did you start playing badminton?
My father thought me when I was 4 years old. 10 years old I entered Pahang State Team. At 13 years old, I was drafted to national junior team at Bukit Jalil Sports School.
3. Is badminton your number 1 passion and interest?
Yes definitely, but I have other interest as well of course such as music , football and etc.
4. Were you good in other sports as well or badminton was just 'it?
Nope, but I do play football just for fun.
5. Which state did you represented before being drafted to the National Team?
I represented the Pahang State Team.
6. And you were drafted in because you won some national championships?
When I was 12 years old in 2001 I went for selection and I was the semi-finalist in the National Junior Circuit.
7. Was it your intention to be a professional player from the start?
Not at all. I was first playing for fun. Then when I got drafted to national junior squad and I did some results at the National Junior Circuit. That is where begin.
8. How do you find the route of becoming a national player for Malaysia, easy or extremely hard?
It's definitely not easy at all. There's a lot of sacrifices has to be made. One of the main sacrifices has to be spending time with my family members. They lived around 4 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur.
9. What has been the most difficult barrier for you to overcome in order to become a professional badminton player?
It has to be self-pressure, of performing well and not disappoint the people who supported me and most importantly to me. Well, the challenging part is getting back up when sometimes you feel mental down because the lack of results. As for training if you have right mentality and drive, you'll get use to the gruelling training regime.
10. Have you ever thought of quitting?
Yes sure, especially when there's no result.
11. Are you playing and training full time now?
12. Are you enjoying it?
Yes of course.
13. Are you happy with your progress in the game so far?
Definitely not, I'm working to be the top 100 in the world ranking. I'm currently ranked #197
14. Have you ever considered playing in doubles?
Nope, I'm always focused in singles but I do play doubles for fun during training and some international tournament but singles is my main event.
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 Choong Han and etc. once they retire?
Yes, from my coach Hendrawan and the BAM. Mostly the pressure would come from BAM as they want results. If there's no result my spot at the national team would be at jeopardy.
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?
It's tremendously hard as Lee Chong Wei is one of the greatest Malaysia player in history. There are still whole lot of things I still need to learn and improved on.
17. Which other young players are being groomed just like you at this stage to take over from the senior players?
Yes, there a few such as Chong Wei Feng , Liew Daren, Chang Kwong Beng , Misbun Ramdan Misbun, Iskandar Zulkarnain, Syawal Muhammad, Goh Soon Huat, Arif Latif and etc. We are all around the same age.
18. There is currently still a big gap to fill between the young players and the senior players. Why is it so?
The senior players are more experienced in terms of handling pressure and they definitely are more steady. It's because the big tournament experiences that they have in playing more tournaments than the younger batch players especially the back up players.
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?
More tournament experiences.
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?
Haha, yes! There's argument about that. Lee Chong Wei is such a great player. He's so discipline and strong driven person. But I believe I'm capable filling up the shoes, but it's tremendously an uphill task.
21. To become a successful player, a lot of sacrifices have to be made. Do you think it is worthwhile?
Sure, It's my dream
22. What do you think of the new rally points scoring system?
In the 21 point scoring system, everyone got a chance. The upset rates are higher, as higher ranked players lost to the lower ranked players.
23. Currently which player you admire the most, both at the local and the international scene?
I admire 2 players. The first one is Lee Chong Wei because of his self-discipline, even though he has a lot of other projects such as sponsorship deals, photo shoot, interviews, meetings and etc. Badminton and training is still his main priority. He is very focus in training as well as in tournaments. The second one is Lin Dan, I admire his mental strength. He don't crack under pressure and he's very fierce on court.
24. Who do you regard as the all time best player?
There are a few as different players, different abilities. The top on my list has to be Han Jian from China for his efficient footwork, Misbun Sidek for his skills and style such as the chop, shooting lob and his infamous hairstyle the Mohican hairstyle and Taufik Hidayat for his talented skills and strong wristwork.
25. What is your strength in your game?
My style of play is counter attack. I'm not a really tall player the strength of my game, that would be agility (fast feet), efficient movements around the court and speed.
26. Which part of your game can be improved?
I have to work on my net play and soft touch. Another thing I'm working on is the skill consistency in the game.
27. What do you think of the Malaysia badminton scene? Is it going uphill or downhill?
Yes, it's going uphill because of Lee Chong Wei and other stars. I have no idea what will happen when Lee Chong Wei and other players retires. Haha!
28. China seems to be producing young players in abundance capable to challenge for international honours. Why do you think so?
Uhm, I guess they have great system and population is big.
29. Is the gap really that big between Malaysia badminton and China?
In my opinion, the gap is not big at all. I believe we are around at the same level.
30. Do you personally think Malaysia Badminton can recapture its previous glory?
I personally believed we can.
31. In your view, what more can be done by our sports ministry or BAM to help the above cause?
BAM and The National Sport Council has supported us players hugely. But in my personal point of view, there's some things need to improve such as I would appreciate if they give me more tournaments opportunities, keep players longer in the setup as some players take longer time to mature and don't always change coaching structures between coaches and players.
32. Who is your current coach?
Currently Hendrawan and previously Rashid Sidek.
33. How is the coaching standard in Malaysia?
Good as our national sport is badminton.
34. What is your current training regime like?
From Monday to Saturday I wake 6.30am and start training from 7am to 10am, then in the evening 2pm to 5pm. Weight training 2 times a week. Thursday and Saturday half day.
35. What do you think of the recent appointment of Yoo Yong Sung as the national mens doubles coach?
Good for different experience and it's good to see the Korean ways of training.
36. What is your advice for other aspiring badminton players?
Train smart and self discipline.
37. Do you consider being a professional badminton player a rewarding career?
Yes and dignity as badminton is the number 1 sport in the country.
38. When do you expect a breakthrough on the international scene?
It's hard to say, but I would give myself another year to make a break through
39. What is your aspiration as a badminton player? What would you like to achieve?
The World Number 1 spot, that's every player's dream and of course playing in the Thomas Cup and the Olympic Games.
40. What's your highlight of your career at the moment?
Champion of the Dutch Junior Open 2008 and Asian Junior 2008 Semi- Finalist.
41. What is your immediate aim?
For now, I would like to focus on the Malaysia International Challenge which is around a month away. My target is to reach at least the semi-final. Another aim would be breaking through the 100 bracket by end of this year.
42. How confident are you in becoming Malaysia No.1 singles player?
Haha well, To be honest, I'm 70 percent confident. In the future nobody knows what will happen. I will just keep on working hard towards my goal.
43. 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?
Fang Yang laughs. There's no statement, I'm just working hard every day, day in and day out. The results will speaks for itself.
44. Badminton-Information.com are planning to start a badminton league. Do you think it will increase the level of players especially the back-up players and do you support the league?
Yes definitely I support the league. It gives us back up players more tournament experience. We'll get more tournament feel, not only in playing international tournament.
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