Lim aims to revive badminton scene

Lim aims to revive badminton scene
Newly-appointed Singapore Badminton Association chief executive officer Ronnie Lim

SINGAPORE - The new man at the helm of the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) has no qualms admitting that the sport has not been performing up to par recently.

"I don't think we've been particularly successful," Ronnie Lim, in his first interview since being appointed chief executive officer last month, told The Straits Times.

"In fact, it's been rather disappointing in recent years." But the 39-year-old, who worked in banking before joining the SBA, gave assurances that the association is looking into reversing the slide.

And with the association now close to finalising details for a new title sponsor for this year's Singapore Open, he hopes things will soon be on the up.

"This is not the first time that these issues (poor performance) have been highlighted, said Lim, who replaced Bobby Lee after the latter's resignation in September following 18 months in charge.

"We've observed and noticed it for the past few months, and are in the process of addressing them."

The national shuttlers fared poorly at last month's SEA Games in Myanmar, winning just a bronze medal - down from a gold and four bronzes two years ago in Jakarta. Four of the Republic's six entries crashed out in the opening round.

Lim felt that work needs to be done on improving the communication within the association - from players, coaches, all the way up to the management.

"When you have people coming from different backgrounds, cultures, you have to make sure that you deal with the communication part," he said, referring to the combination of foreign-born players and coaches in the national set-up.

"Communicating (well) is something we don't do enough, and something we have to do more of. Hopefully, that will allow us to bring out the best in our players."

The lack of depth in the national team is another issue he highlighted. The senior team have just two singles players on either the men's or women's team - Derek Wong and Ashton Chen, and Gu Juan and Chen Jiayuan.

Lim is however optimistic about the quality of the juniors coming through from the National Intermediate Squad.

Liang Xiaoyu and Yeo Jia Min, in particular, are two bright sparks he feels have the potential to be future world-beaters, and need to be carefully nurtured.

Xiaoyu, 17, is the world No. 4 junior while Jia Min, 14, became the first Singaporean to win the Under-15 title at last year's Badminton Asia Youth Championships.

Said Lim: "We want to make sure our NIS team players make a smooth transition to the senior side."

For now, however, there are more pressing priorities - pulling off another edition of the Singapore Open, which has been brought forward to April from the usual June date.

He said: "It's a big challenge this year because we've had to look for a new title sponsor and there is less time to organise the event.

"We want to make sure that we do a good job and that the event is well-received. Once we have that, we can think about doing more. "It's a challenge, but I relish a challenge and I think I manage them quite well."


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