Badminton Life

Interview with Rashid Sidek

Date: 18/11/2011

Rashid Sidek (Nickname: Adul) (born July 8, 1968 in Kanchong Darat, Banting, Selangor) was a Malaysian national badminton player, and a prominent world-class singles player during the 1990s. He is the youngest of the 5 legendary Sidek brothers who represented Malaysia in major events from the late 70's to the late 90's.

He and his siblings were all actively involved in the international badminton scene. His brothers Razif Sidek and Jalani won the Olympic Games bronze medal in the men's doubles in 1992 and became the first Olympian for Malaysia. Rashid became the first Malaysian singles player to win a medal in the Olympics.

Growing up with a support system that revolved around Badminton, Rashid Sidek became a walking proof for one of the most uplifting sportsmen in his era setting records in Malaysia which takes decades for the present batch to break it.

Born on July 8, 1968, in Banting, Selangor, Rashid became the youngest player to win the National Junior Badminton Championship in 1980 at the age of 12. Under the guidance of his father, Rashid and the rest of his siblings were trained to be champions.

1. What age did you start playing?

At the age of 7 years old, 9 years old I represented my school. At 10 years old I was Kuala Lumpur state champion under 12.

2. Was it your intention to be a professional player from the start?

Yes, when I was around 8 years old, it was my main intention and target to be a professional player. As my brothers Misbun, Razif and Jalani Sidek were all already world class and international players and already winning titles. My brothers were training and living in KL, from my point of view at that time, they seem to be enjoying KL and I was in still living in the village. It was my main goal to be good in badminton just like them and move to KL, I don't want to stay in the village.

3. When did you realize you were good enough to be a world beater?

At around 12 years old, I was already national junior champion. So at that time, I realize I had the quality to challenge anyone but still not that steady. It gave me confidence to work harder. At around 18 years old, I've already starting to upset world class such as the famous All England Champion Prakash Produkone from India.

4. How were you noticed at the national level?

During my junior years, I won all junior national championship (MSSM) in all age categories. At 12 years old I won the junior national championship (MSSM). When I was 13 years old I won the under 15 category. At 14 years old, I won the under 16 years old category. When I was 15 years old I won the under 20 category. I was the under 18 national champion for 3 years straight from 16, 17, 18 years old. My target is to win the age categories which are above my age group as I want to be a champion like my brothers who is already international champion and All England Champion. My brothers Jalani Sidek was already All England champion at the age of only 18 years old.

5. Which year was you drafted into the national squad?

At 14 years old, I was already in the national junior squad. At 17 years old I was in the national squad, training full time. At 18 years old, I represented Malaysia in the Thomas Cup playing second doubles, partnering Ong Beng Teong. Ong Beng Teong guided me during my junior years.

6. Have you ever considered making a name in doubles?

During the junior level, it's good to play both categories. If you're singles players, it's good to play doubles to improve defence and fast reflexes. As for doubles players, it's good to play singles for improving the court coverage. I was national doubles champion, partnering my brother Razif Sidek. At the age of around 18 to 19 years old, I concentrated on singles.

7. Did any of your batch mates made the same grade as you? If not, what was the reason?

Yes, the famous Cheah Soon Kit and Soo Beng Kiang. Soo Beng Kiang 's rise to top is later. There were plenty who didn't make it. Probably they don't have the proper drive, target and far vision. It all came down to commitment.

8. How many years were you on the scene?

18years old to 30 years old. 12 years.

9. On your playing career which was the highlight of your career?

The first highlight would be the Thomas Cup 1992. We were crowned world champions in this team event; it was the first time in 25 years since Malaysia lifted the cup. It's just an ecstasy! Unbelievable! After that very moment, the government and Malaysia started to give even more support in Malaysia badminton, the government even gave us public holiday the next day.

I played first singles, and I won my match against World Champion Zhao Jian Hua from China in the semi-final and Ardy Wiranata in a titanic battle in the final. In the second set of the match I was so pumped due to Ardy's infamous rallying game, but in the third set I recovered and went on to win the match.

I enjoy playing with Ardy very much. It was a very crucial point for Malaysia as it's the stepping stone for Malaysia to win the tie. The second highlight, is the 1996 Olympic Bronze Medal winning Haryanto Arbi reigning world champion at that time, it was the first Olympic medal in the men's singles event for Malaysia.

The third highlight would be being ranked the World Number#1 in the world rankings, the first Malaysian player to be ranked world number 1. The last highlight would be winning the Malaysia Open 3 consecutively times (1990,1991, 1992).

10. Which incident would you consider as a low point of your career?

Asian Games 1990, I was playing first singles in the team event against Indonesia's Allan Budi Kusuma. Everything was not happening right for me, I played really badly. At that time was really one of the lowest points of my career as I know I could play better. Sometimes it happens to any top players in the world, its part of the game, sometimes things don't go your way in term of shots, strategies and etc.

11. How would you summarize your career?

Not fully satisfied, I didn't get the World Championship title or an Olympic gold. At the end of the day, I have to give in; I've tried my best and due to numerous injuries as well. Looking back it's quite an achievement. I've managed to become Thomas Cup Champion, ranked world #1, Olympic bronze medallist and etc. I have to admit I'm quite satisfied.

12. Do you still play? What other sports other than badminton?

Yes sometimes, I do spar with my players. Nope there are no other sports I play.

13. What do you think of the new points scoring system?

At first, it's not that interesting as the duration is too fast. Everyone doesn't know how to play the game with this scoring system. After a few years now, everyone is picking up and knowing how to play the game. The game duration is getting longer.

14. Which player you admire at the start, both at the local and the international scene ?

Yang Yang from China, I admire his speed, jumping smash, and netting. Zhao Jian Hua from China for tricky shots and as for local players, my brother Misbun Sidek for his chop and shooting lob.

15. As a player, what was your strength ? Weakness, if any ?

Rally and attacking.

16. Is it important to have a favourite stroke? What was yours then?

Yes, it's important to use your favourite stroke to get easy points. My favourite stroke is chop and shooting lob.

17. Were you good in other sports as well or badminton was just 'it?

Ping pong, I represent my school.

18. 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?

Lin Dan's overall game, it's beautiful. That's if he plays properly. His movement around the court is like walking but he has the explosiveness in his movements, Lin Dan's diving is also very natural. Chong Wei has even learnt the diving skills from Lin Dan.

Lin Dan rises to top earlier than Lee Chong Wei. Opponents learn from each other game to excel in this sport. Lin Dan is truly a complete player. As for players before, it would be Morten Forst for his solid rallies, Yang Yang for his speed and power and Zhao Jian Hua for his deception.

19. Who do you regard as the all time best player?

Lin Dan, he's the 4 times world champion and the Olympic champion. He has won all tournaments there is in badminton.

20. Who were your coaches during your international days?

There were many coaches mainly from China, Yang Yang, Han Jian, Fah Kah Xiang and lastly, Misbun Sidek; my brother.

21. Can you spell out the difference in coaching styles from China, Malaysia, Denmark and Indonesia? What are their Strengths and Weaknesses?

China style is more on physical, Malaysia and Indonesia is more on skills and physical. Denmark is also more on physical. But overall is actually the same. Not much of a difference

22. Do good players make good coaches?

Not necessarily, some good players are not good at explanation. A good coach needs to have the ability to interpret well.

23. What is it like to be part of the legendary Sidek family?

I feel privileged.

24. You are coaching at the moment, what's the difference?

The challenging part is to be patient, sometimes if you show the player the right technique or any stroke, not necessarily he would be able to do it.

25. What are the basic requirements to playing good badminton?

Talented(natural stroke) , drive and fire, strong desire, self motivated, motivation, big dreams, far targets, and most importantly discipline. Lee Chong Wei is not that talented, but he has strong will power, committed, drive and discipline.

26. What's the training regime like when you were playing?

Every morning around 6.00 to 6.30 I'll do my daily jogging, then from 9am to 12noon;court training. Then in the evening from 3pm to 5pm, I trained from Monday to Saturday. Thursday half day and Saturday half day.

27. Are there any specific diets you have to follow as a badminton player?

Nope, just eat healthily and eat good food. Be aware of the food that makes your stomach upset, and try avoiding them. Malaysians love spicy food, so try cut down those as well.

28. When you were playing professionally have you ever thought of giving up?

When I was around 20 years old, there's not much result, but I stayed on and never say give up. Every player will face this before breaking through to the top, they must learn how to become stronger. Once they've learnt to break through this stage, that's where the results come.

29. What happened to your acting career? Any future plans?

No, no more acting for me. I'll be just focusing on coaching and developing Malaysia badminton.

30. Who do you think are the current upcoming players in Malaysia? And why?

Zulfadli Zuklifli, the recent World Junior Champion and Misbun Ramdan our national backup player.

31. Do you see any players in the world to take over players like Lin Dan , Peter Gade, Lee Chong Wei and etc.?

Chen Long from China.

32. As a living legend and the head coach of BAM, what is your vision in Malaysia Badminton?

Development in back up department to take over Chong Wei, our player's still not so consistent and taking back the Thomas Cup, it's been too long. It's been almost 20 years already, since we captured the cup.

33. Are there any ways for BAM to improve their systems for better results on international scene?

Yes, put more quality coaches and you'll get more quality players in the BJSS and Back up squad.

34. is planning to start a badminton league. What do you think about it? And do you support the league?

It's going to be hard and challenging to organize but it'll be something new and it's a good move. Yes I do support the league.

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