Badminton Life

Sairul Upset at BAM for Leaving Him Out of Asian Championships

Sairul Amar Ayob, who plays for KLRC club, has hit out at the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) for excluding him from April's Asian Championships, to be held in Johor Bahru.

The BAM named Lee Chong Wei, Wong Choong Hann, Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Yeoh Kay Bin, Tan Chun Seang and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif in their six-man squad with Lee Tsuen Seng as a reserve.

Sairul was furious and demanded to know what criteria BAM used for selection. Sairul is ranked 27 in the world while Yeoh is 30.

"I am ranked higher than Kay Bin. In fact, my international results are better than Kay Bin's. Why then have I been left out? What is the guideline used for selection? This is really disappointing," Sairul told local media.

Sairul's disappointment was enhanced after he played particularly well at the recent Swiss Open in Basel, where he beat world championship runner-up Sony Dwi Kuncoro, of Indonesia, as well as his compatriot Wong Choong Hann.

He said his exclusion from the Asian event hinders his hopes of being picked for the Thomas Cup Finals, which are being held in Jakarta from May 11-18.

"The ABC and India Open are the last two tournaments for players like me to impress the selectors and win the fourth singles slot for the Thomas Cup Finals."

Chief coach Yap Kim Hock said Yeoh's selection ahead of Sairul was to give the former a chance to make the Thomas Cup team.

Each country can pick only four singles players for the Thomas Cup and the coach wanted to give Yeoh the chance to stake his claim. Sairul, as a KLRC player, is not part of the BAM set-up while Yeoh is and the priority is always with players attached to the national body.

"Due to poor form, we did not send him to the All-England and Swiss Open. We are giving him a last chance to impress. This is our choice,'' he said.

"We will pick the best players for the Thomas Cup Finals and the team will be named in Johor Baru on April 20."

World number two Lee Chong Wei, Wong and Hafiz are expected to make the team while the fourth spot is open. Also under consideration are Lee Tseung Seng and Mohd Roslin Hashim.

However, Chong Wei recently said that he will make a decision about the Asian champs later. Should he decide to pull out, Sairul may even get a chance as a substitute.

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