A black day for Singapore sports, thanks to the Singapore Badminton Association

The report:

This report appeared in today’s edition of The Straits Times


Shuttlers in limbo

(The Straits Times, 11 Jan 2011)

10 players hit as team of second stringers are dissolved amid revamp

By Lin Xinyi & May Chen

SEVERAL members of the national badminton Team 2 squad are set to walk out on the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA), after 10 singles players were told to choose between helping out as sparring partners or leaving.

Some were given the additional option of seeking a career in doubles.

The Straits Times understands that the 16-strong Team 2 squad – consisting of eight men and eight women – were dissolved recently as part of SBA’s restructuring plans.

A National Intermediate Squad (NIS) for players aged 13 to 17 are expected to be formed soon as part of a strategy to develop youth talent.

A handful of Team 2 shuttlers, including Ngo Yi Chye, who finished 27th in the men’s singles at last year’s World Junior Championships, have been promoted to Team 1.

Team 1 boast the Republic’s best shuttlers like Singapore No.1 Ashton Chen.

The remaining 10 shuttlers from Team 2 have been left in limbo.

Although they have been invited to the NIS, those who join can expect to play the role of sparring partners where they will get no allowance nor opportunities to compete in overseas tournaments. The other alternative would be to leave.

Currently, full-time trainees are paid allowances. Team 2 members were also sent to overseas tournaments such as the Yonex-Sunrise Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold 2010.

The shuttlers affected are Ng Zong Ren, Eugene Sng, Kelvin Ho, Koh Jia Yi, Tan Kia Hwee, Toh Siew Fen, Samantha Neo, Noriko Goh, Aisyah Latib and Li Bo.

Ng, 20, said he has no option but to walk out after SBA officials told him this on Jan 3.

‘I served SBA for 11 years,’ he said. ‘After all our hard work, they asked us to leave just like that. There was no warning. We feel we’ve been unfairly treated.’

Ho is another shuttler who has seen his sporting dreams evaporate overnight.

The member of Singapore’s bronze medal-winning 2009 South-east Asia Games men’s team and 2010 Thomas Cup qualifying squad was told that he was too old to become a world-class shuttler.

The news is a blow to the 21-year-old, who opted against taking his O level examinations in 2007 – despite his father’s disapproval – to train full-time.

A shocked and disappointed Ho added that members of Team 2 were not given ample chances to prove themselves at overseas tournaments.

He said. ‘I’ve no choice but to move on, and hope that going back to studying will give me a better future.’

Others are still mulling over their options. Toh, 18, said: ‘They gave us a week to think it through, but there are some complications and misunderstandings so we need to clarify. They said they’ll still focus on us if we join NIS, but I’m not sure if that will happen.’

The SBA could not be reached for comment by press time.

Earlier in the day, it announced that chief executive Edwin Pang would be leaving the association on Feb 9, after reaching the end of a three-year secondment. Michael Foo, a member of the SBA management committee, will be the acting CEO. The SBA said it will begin the search for a new CEO shortly.


My thoughts:

Thanks to the Singapore Badminton Association, parents of children who are talented in badminton now know that the best thing they can ever do for their kids is to discourage them from pursuing their dreams of turning professional.

The way the SBA cruelly axed the 10 shuttlers from their national team 2 squad just shows how much the national body values its full-time players.

My jaw dropped when I read the news report below today.

Effectively, the SBA were telling these teenagers and young adults that they had no more future in the sport, and that if they wanted to continue being in the national set-up, they would have to do it as sparring partners, and get this, without being paid any allowances.

I don’t understand how the SBA could have reached such a conclusion about these 18 and 19 year olds when just a year or two ago, it was inviting them to give up their studies for full-time training.

And now, after giving up two years of their lives, during which they could have completed their further studies, these shuttlers are being thrown out into the cold with not even any form of compensation or word or gesture of thanks and appreciation from the SBA.

Here’s my question to the SBA:

1. How in the world did you conclude in just two years that these shuttlers have no more potential in them to become world-class players? Most of them are just 18 or 19, for goodness sake!

2. And were you even fair to them in the first place?

Did you give them ample opportunities to develop themselves in the two years? I am sure that they, being Team 2 squad members, were not given as much attention or resources as the Team 1 squad. If so, then aren’t you to blame if they have not been developing as well as you would have liked?

This is  a black day for Singapore sports.

Sports administrators in Singapore have always been moaning about how it is so hard to get local youths to consider becoming full-time athletes, and here we have a national body who amazingly proceeds to throw 10 such passionate youths out in the streets.

I can only hope that the SBA will end up paying a high price for its decision and suffer the repercussions.

Shame on you, SBA. You guys are the shits and deserve to be spat on.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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11 thoughts on “A black day for Singapore sports, thanks to the Singapore Badminton Association

  1. Pohui says:

    Sad indeed… just like a push off the cliff for these shuttlers

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  3. Singapaporean says:

    Sounds like lao peng kena told they don’t “deserve” the $9k

  4. Wilson says:

    Sad for these shuttlers.

    As a sportsman, I can never understand NSAs obsession with young kids!

    Seriously, Paula Radcliffe would not have won her marathon if she is a Singaporean! Ditto to Chrisse Wellington for Ironman!

    SBA is shit and deserved to be spat on!

  5. SBA Junior says:

    Is really sad. I trained my boy since he was P2. And now he is in the National Juniors. Hopefully he can do Singapore proud one day. I would say SBA should not take full responsibilties. Obviously they lack of funds. Badminton is not considered the level 1 sport for the Sport Council. First level are like Swimming, Bowling, Table Tennis. And Badminton gets much lower budget thus end up like this. Singapore! Is this the way to go? On one hand You have encourage sports that You even started with the Singapore Sports School and on the other hand chopping their arms off??!! As compared to other countries for e.g. Malaysia, the country even sponsered the players (including level 2) for their degrees course etc. They are very well look after as they have sacrifice their time since they were young for the country. And in return that is the least the country can provide. But am proud of Singapore economic achievement and same time felt deeply ashame. What Singapore is well known of doing is importing foreign talent. Does Malaysia need to do that? NO! Then please forget about grooming the young talents. You are just simply slapping your own face. Disgrace and Shameful in the name of SPORTS.

  6. RealTruth says:

    You people are talking as if you know the actual truth behind SBA’s intentions. Players like Ng Zong Ren and Tan Kia Hwee deserved to be cut from the team. If you have seen them in training you will have the same feelings as me. They show no interest during their training and they blame the coaches for not providing quality training. As for the time duration of 1-2 years, SBA was trying to give them a last chance to prove that they want and are capable of pushing themselves towards international level. The only regret is for players like Kelvin Ho, Toh Siew Fen and Aisyah bte Latib. They are the hardworking ones that still deserve a spot in the team. And lastly a reply for SBA junior… the only reason why malaysia does not import players is because they have a large pool of people to select from and they have ex-world champions to guide and mentor their players. For your information , the NIS team only consists of Singaporean players and another point to note, SBA has already disbanded the youth and junior team so your child is not considered a national junior player. Lastly since you ‘told’ SBA to stop developing young players, does that mean that you do not want your child to go on to international level and study his life away?

  7. Ta Yong Meng says:


    Would like to check. What is the reason for disbanding the National Junior? Does SBA think that there is no need to develop the young players?

    The NIS only start from 12 years old. How about those below 12.

    RealTruth, open your eye or you go tell SBA to open their eye bigger. There are many good and potential world class young players out there. SBA should think of a plan to develop these players young rather than until they are 12.

  8. Parentofnationaljunior says:

    Very sad that SBA is no longer having the National Junior Team. Seems like they believe that children will become world class player automatically when they reach 12 yo.

    I think SBA should reconsider to reinstate the National Junior Team.

  9. […] Top Posts Newsflash: Jasmine Yeong-Nathan is Sportswoman of the YearAre you feeling all 'roid?A black day for Singapore sports, thanks to the Singapore Badminton Association […]

  10. […] Such is the Singapore Badminton Association’s poor regard for the ability of local shuttlers that they even disbanded one of their development squads – made up of locals – in January this year because they felt that these youngsters would never be as good as the foreign-born shuttlers in the national team (see previous report here). […]

  11. Ng Liu Cheng says:

    Ng Zong Ren is a team 1 player .. and he achieve good results in his years serving sba .. because of some politics and corrupted members inside the organisation wants to benefit themselves so decide to do what ever it benefits them .. no reason at all to remove Ng Zong Ren who I can say give up his everything just for singapore badminton .. but not he is benefiting singapore badminton in another way by inspiring kids and young players by being a coach .. still Singapore badminton association is a stupid place to be in .. more coaches than player and worst of all .. pay for your own overseas tournament and expenses .. well done .. no wonder all talents left you .. suck all the money you want and destroy your own country hope .. just for your own pocket’s sake ..

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