‘I was shortchanged’

New woman doubles coach Lim Pek Siah . RAYMOND OOI/ The Star

LIM Pek Siah first won the Commonwealth Games women’s doubles title as a player in 2002 and then repeated the feat as a coach in 2018.

Her reward? Her contract was not renewed.

Now, as a coach with Singapore Badminton Association, the former national champion has unleashed an explosive criticism of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), accusing them of not caring enough for local coaches.

Lim Pek Siah has spent more than half of her life in badminton, from being a national player to independent shuttler and a coach at different levels, .

And the 40-year-old is hurt.

After five months of working in Singapore, she can see the difference and feels she was far from appreciated by BAM. In fact, she feels she was shortchanged.

It was in 2018 that Pek Siah and Wong Pei-Tty led the squad to huge success.

Under them, Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo remained as the national No. 1 but more than that, many other players rose. Among them were Soong Fie Cho-Amelia Anscelly, who went on to win the 2015 Singapore SEA Games gold and 2016 Indian Open gold.

The women’s doubles department contributed five titles and three runners-up finish, with notable ones being the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold (Vivian Hoo-Chow Mei Kuan); Syed Modi Open, India (Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean); and Macau Open (Vivian-Yap Cheng Wen).

At the end of the year, she was asked to leave.

“They could not give me a good answer when I asked why I had to leave. The bonus promised for meeting the KPI (Key Performance Index) was also not given, ” she said.

“I felt it was unfair. The salary of the foreign coaches are three times more than the locals. We work just as hard but we are left out when we are not needed.”

She hoped they will stop their unfair treatment of local coaches.

Pek Siah was a women’s doubles coach with BAM from 2015-2018. She went back to private coaching before being hired by Singapore BA in November last year, making her the first woman shuttler to take up a top coaching post outside of Malaysia.

“I’ve been coaching the women’s doubles in Singapore for five months now. The way they do things here are different but at least, they take care of their coaches, ” said Pek Siah, who won the Commonwealth Games gold medal with Ang Li Peng in 2002 in Manchester.

“Their hiring process is professional and they are clear with their expectations. I am thankful for the opportunity.”

Pek Siah is sore with the way BAM severed ties with her – four years after former coaching director Morten Frost brought her in to assist Pei Tty.

“Over the period, there was improvement in the women’s doubles department. Our department met the KPI with several good results but in 2018, my contract was not extended, ” said Pek Siah.

“I wanted to pour my disappointment on the social media but I was advised by my friends not to. I chose to be quiet then.

“I was a pioneer with BAM when they started their first academy in 1992. I worked hard as a coach but some leaders there don’t even know my name. It all depends on the leadership, really.”

Besides Pek Siah, there are few other local coaches plying their trade abroad.

Among others, Tan Kim Her has coached in England, South Korea, India and Japan, Jeremy Gan is with Japan while Wong Tat Meng is in Scotland.

“Of course, it’s always nice to coach at home but it’s not the end if we are not needed.

“I would encourage other local coaches to explore and experience opportunities outside, ” added Pek Siah.


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