Gu quits, will not play inUber Cup

While Gu's departure is a blow to the national team, it was clear the SBA also wanted to cut its losses.

SINGAPORE - The world No. 22, the Republic's top women's singles player, tendered her resignation to the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) last week and will play no part in the Uber Cup finals in New Delhi later this month.

An SBA statement yesterday cited nagging injuries and a desire to look after her ageing parents as the reasons behind the decision.

Her departure, however, should come as no surprise.

The writing was on the wall as early as January, when the SBA appointed Liu Qingdong as its new head coach, replacing chief singles coach Luan Ching at the helm.

The Straits Times reported then that Gu had submitted a letter to the national governing body and was contemplating quitting.

She has missed training several times since and as noted in the statement yesterday, felt the new coaching set-up is "unable to bring her to the next level".

The 2012 Olympian declined comment when contacted yesterday.

Gu, a Jiangsu native, came to Singapore under the Foreign Talent Scheme in 2003 and left the SBA stables when she hung up her racket in favour of her books in 2008. She later returned near the end of 2009.

She has yet to win a professional title, with a quarter-final appearance at the 2011 All England Championships and a runner-up finish at the third-tier Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold last year among her more notable achievements.

Coach Liu, for one, felt Gu - still only 23 years old - has the potential to achieve more.

He said: "It's regretful that (she) is leaving us at such a crucial time in our badminton journey. The team has been working very hard with the new team of coaches and the team is progressing as a whole."

While Gu's departure is a blow to the national team, it was clear the SBA also wanted to cut its losses.

Said SBA chief executive officer Ronnie Lim: "We have tried to encourage her to stay and give the new coaching system a chance, but she was reluctant.

"Hence, we thought it was better for all parties to let her go."

ST understands that Fu Mingtian will now be drafted to return to action in the singles at the Uber Cup. The 2011 SEA Games champion and Sportswoman of the Year switched to doubles more than a year ago.

Singapore's women's team, playing in the finals of the prestigious world team championships for just the second time in history, will be represented by Chen Jiayuan, Liang Xiaoyu, Vanessa Neo, Fu Mingtian, Yao Lei, Shinta Mulia Sari and Tan Wei Han.

Derek Wong will take the lead on the men's side for the Thomas Cup, with Huang Chao, Terry Hee, Chayut Triyachart, Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Sean Lee making up the rest of the squad.

This article was published on May 5 in The Straits Times.

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