Flandi exits with the belief that men’s pairs can go far

Fond memories. Flandi Limpele (centre) with Nur Izzuddin Rumsani and Goh Sze Fei after the players won at the German Open.

PETALING JAYA: It may not make sense but men’s doubles coach Flandi Limpele believes the timing of his decision to leave when the men’s doubles are making headway, is the right thing to do.

On Sunday, Flandi’s boys Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani were on the verge of winning their second big career title before they went down fighting 18-21, 19-21 to Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto of Indonesia in the Swiss Open final in Basel.

Two weeks ago, the duo had made the country proud by winning the German Open. Last year, the duo dumped Olympic Games champions Lee Yang-Wang-chi-lin of Taiwan to reach the Indonesian Open quarter-finals.

They were not the only pair who had shown fine improvements in their game since Flandi was hired by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) in July 2020 – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the last one-and-a-half years under Flandi, national No. 1 Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik have showed creditable results.

The debutants saved Malaysian badminton the blushes by winning the only medal – a bronze at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year and they did it in style by taking down Indonesian giants Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya and Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan along the way, thanks to the input given by Flandi.

Under Flandi, Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun also won their first big title at the Syed Modi International in January and there are a few other back-up players, who came out tops in several lower-ranked tournaments last year.

Flandi was happy that he had raised the standard of the Malaysian men’s doubles but said he had to go and seek new challenges.

“I’ve full satisfaction to see the rise in Malaysian doubles in the short time I’ve been here. There were several results despite the challenges we went through under the pandemic,” said Flandi, who won a bronze medal with Eng Hian at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

“The most memorable is to see Aaron-Wooi Yik win a bronze medal at the Olympics too. They were the underdogs but defied the odds. Achievements like these give much joy to a coach.

“It’s also wonderful to see Sze Fei-Izzuddin and Wei Chong-Kai Wun breaking barriers this year. I believe I have prepared these players the best I could, and I believe they have the talents and determination to go far in their careers.”

Flandi hopes national coaching doubles director Rexy Mainaky will continue to raise the standard of the Malaysian men’s doubles.

“The thought of leaving had been there and now that my contract ends this month, I’ve decided it was the best time to leave,” said Flandi.

“I’m confident Rexy will find a better coach than me and he will be able to prepare the players even better. I wish the team all the best.”

On his future plans, Flandi will return to the All-Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI) as a coach.

“It’s interesting that I’ve never coached in Indonesia before. After my playing career, I left for other countries to coach. It’s good to be back,” he said.

He is the third Malaysian coach to leave in the last four months. Chan Chong Ming, who was handling the women’s doubles, quit in December while women’s singles coach Indra Wijaya left in January to coach independent shuttler Lee Zii Jia.

The Indonesian coaches now left in the BAM are Rexy, Hendrawan (men’s singles) and Paulus Firman (mixed doubles).

Source: The Star


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