Coach Nunung to leave SBA

Coach Nunung to leave SBA
Singapore woman's pair semi-final win
Celebrating the Singapore women’s pair semi-final win in the Singapore Open are (clockwise from left) coach Nunung Wibianto, Shinta Mulia Sari, coach Eng Hian and Yao Lei. With the 5,500-strong crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium behind them, Singapore's badminton players Shinta and Yao rallied from a game down to win 11-21, 21-18, 21-19.

SINGAPORE -Doubles coach Nunung Wibiyanto's second stint with the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) will end next month.

The Indonesian-born Singaporean permanent resident has decided not to renew his contract which ended on March 31 but stayed on for the OUE Singapore Open which ended on Sunday.

Nunung cited personal reasons but insisted that he is leaving the national sports association on a good note.

"I am very sad to leave because I wanted to give my best to the players up till the Olympics (in Rio in 2016)," Nunung told The New Paper.

The 45-year-old, who is a familiar sight with his bald pate at courtside whenever Singapore's doubles shuttlers are in action, was recruited by the SBA in 1998 as a doubles coach and sparring partner.

He left in 2000, but started his second stint with the national sports association in 2008, first with doubles coach Eng Hian, then with his successor Yoo Yong Sung last year.

The South Korean left the association in January this year, along with singles coach Luan Ching, after the SBA conducted an internal review due to poor results last year. The Republic's doubles team achieved some notable results during Nunung's second stint with the SBA.

The women's doubles pair of Shinta Mulia Sari and Yao Lei won the Singapore Open title and the Commonwealth Games silver medal in 2010.

Mixed doubles pair Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo reached a career-high world ranking of ninth in February last year.

Also, men's doubles pair Chayut Triyachart and Chrisnanta won the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold last month.

Nunung said with a tinge of sadness: "I made my decision last December, I could have extended my contract but I've already given my word to someone else."

SBA chief executive Ronnie Lim confirmed the departure, and said: "Coach Nunung has contributed a lot to the doubles team during his time at the SBA.

"His original contract ended on March 31 and he chose not to renew his contract for personal reasons.

"We had requested for him to extend till the end of the OUE Singapore Open which he had kindly agreed.

"We will all miss him and thank him for his contributions. We look forward to working with him again if there are any future opportunities."

Nunung will start work at a local secondary school in June, but does not rule out a return to the national body in the future.

Nunung said: "My heart is still with the SBA, maybe I can come back in the future."

This article was published on April 15 in The New Paper.

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