Badminton: Chief coach Liu Qingdong resigns; Chua Yong Joo steps in as first local head coach

Liu, a Chengdu native who is now a Singapore citizen, had expressed a desire to spend more time with his only daughter.
Liu, a Chengdu native who is now a Singapore citizen, had expressed a desire to spend more time with his only daughter. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - National badminton chief coach Liu Qingdong has resigned from the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA), having taken over the helm only in February last year.

The SBA made the announcement on Wednesday at its office at the Singapore Sports Hub. Liu, who was not present at the announcement, will be replaced by former national player Chua Yong Joo, the first local-born to head the national badminton team, from October.

Liu, a Chengdu native who is now a Singapore citizen, had expressed a desire to spend more time with his only daughter, as she is preparing for her PSLE examinations this year. He had been promoted to chief coach last year as part of sweeping changes the SBA made after a string of dismal performances. He was part of the SBA set-up before taking on the role of chief coach, as the coach of the national intermediate squad.

Said SBA president Lee Yi Shyan: "Coach Liu has contributed much to Singapore badminton. He brought Derek Wong, our Commonwealth Games silver medallist to an all-time high of No. 37 in the world rankings this February and also coached Loh Kean Yew to a SEA Games bronze recently.

"He has also built a cohesive team culture amongst the players and coaches. We tried persuading coach Liu to stay on but respect his decision to spend more time with his family," added Mr Lee, who is also Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Trade and Industry and National Development.

Chua, who will was formerly the SBA's director of team performance while also serving as doubles coach. He is married to former national player and 2008 Olympian Jiang Yanmei, also a coach in the SBA. His appointment comes largely as a surprise, given that the SBA has in recent years taken to foreign coaches.

Before Liu took over, Luan Ching was the team's chief singles coach while South Korean Yoo Yong Sung was the chief doubles coach.