Tue, 31 Oct 2000

Korea, Bahrain use Asian c'ships as training session

JAKARTA (JP): While most athletes at the 2000 JVC Asian Badminton Championships are aiming at titles, another pack of shuttlers will be using the event as training for future competitions.

The Badminton Association of Korea's international director, Han Woo-goo, said on Monday Korea was fielding its second-string shuttlers for the event.

"We didn't send our best players because we want our youngsters to gain as much international experience as possible. Even host Indonesia and China are also fielding their second- layer shuttlers," he said on the sideline of a practice session at the Senayan Badminton Hall on Jl. Asia Afrika, Central Jakarta.

"Our real target is to prepare them for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. In Korea, we consider the Olympics the highest achievement in sports. Even our government drafts the sport budget according to the Olympic schedule.

"Unlike China, Indonesia and Malaysia, we don't pay too much attention to the Thomas and Uber cups. Perhaps because we never won either of the cups yet," he said.

Korea's Olympic men's doubles silver medalists Lee Dong-soo and Yoo Yong-soong, and bronze medalists Kim Dong-moon and Ha Tae-kwon are absent from the JVC Championships.

"Since our schedule follows the Olympics, the national team was dissolved soon after the Games. The national team will only be reassembled before the Korean Open next January.

"That's why we haven't sent our best doubles players. But we still sent our best singles players, Lee Hyun-il and Park Tae- sang," Han said.

He also said Korea would try to aid the development of singles shuttlers by organizing championships for students.

Similarly, Bahrain's team of four young shuttlers is only trying to gain as much experience as possible. Bahrain team manager Khalil Ibrahim Shaheen told The Jakarta Post his shuttlers were being prepared for future competitions, mainly among Arab countries.

Bahrain has sent to this event Ahmad Ibrahim and three Hassan brothers: Asaad, Hamed and Jafar, who will compete in the men's singles event. Assad is Bahrain's top junior shuttler.

"Our junior players are our best hope for the future. We groom them in international tournaments in an effort to prepare them.

"For the medium term, we want to be the champion of the Arab countries. Bahrain is always number one among Arab countries," he said.

Shaheen said badminton was very popular in Bahrain thanks to the government's support, and that numerous competitions were held to recruit new talent.

"Our government supports the sport and provides everything we need, up to a certain limit. But there is no monthly allowance for the shuttlers.

"We don't have a badminton training center back home, but there is a Syrian coach on a three-year contract. It's time for us to find a new coach suitable to our schedule and target," Shaheen said.

He also said Bahrain was looking into the possibility of sending its players to train in countries that were traditional badminton powers.

"I'm trying to get some recommendations on coaches from the officials here during the championships," he said. (nvn)