Tough it out, HK coach tells badminton squad
Hong Kong badminton coach Tim He Yiming has urged his exhausted players to make the most of their opportunities as they battle for qualifying places for the year-end Superseries finals next month.
He has told his charges not to blow their chances when they compete in two lead-up tournaments - this week's Li Ning China Open in Shanghai and next week's Sunrise-Yonex Hong Kong Open - that awards points towards the prestigious finals in Kuala Lumpur.
The Hong Kong Open will be held at the Coliseum in Hung Hom.
"The China and Hong Kong Opens will be the last two legs of the 12-tournament series before the finals in Kuala Lumpur in December," said the coach.
"We can still qualify for the men's singles and women's doubles super-series finals, but they must get good results first."
The coach, however, was worried his players might not have recovered from the exertions of playing a hectic schedule during the second half of the year.
"We played two back-to-back major games in September and October that are not part of the open tour, and the players' fitness might be affected by these two events," he said.
"The East Asian Games in October was particularly exhausting for the men as they had to play three singles and two doubles matches in three days.
"We won a [men's team] silver medal in the end behind China, but the players had to expend all their energy and they were exhausted."
Hong Kong No 1 Hu Yun, who reached the Superseries finals in Shenzhen last year and made it to the men's singles last four, is currently ninth in the table. Only the top eight players or pairs will be eligible for the finals in all five events. Women's doubles pair Tse Ying-suet and Poon Lok-yan, who also qualified for Shenzhen last year, are 10th.
"I can't blame them even if they fail to reach the finals as it has been a tough year," said He.