Even after badminton went into a hiatus since the All England back in March, the Japanese players did not show any signs of slowing down as they clinched two titles and a runner-up spot at the DANISA Denmark Open. This is a major feat considering they sent only 6 players to participate in the tournament.

Through an interview with the BWF, the head coach of the Japanese national team Park Joo Bong shared about how he had taken care of his players since the Covid-19 lockdown and shared some of the behind the scenes stories.

The following is an excerpt from the interview.

Failed time and time again to organize a national training camp.

Park revealed that after the All England their scheduled national training program was stopped and they failed to restart it in June. They failed to implement the program again in August as the spread of Covid-19 was still a scare among everyone.

He said that they were able to start the national camp in September, he said “By end of September everything was perfect, and we realised that the national training centre was the best place to be in as it was safe. After that, all the players know that the training centre is the best place to be in. Nobody has complained”

The clubs played an important role.

I had visited each team in August. I thought the players’ level was not different from earlier.

Before the start of the national camp, the players were training with their respective clubs. Coaches from the national staff provided briefings through telephone or by video calls. He said that when the training camp plans failed in August, the coaches visited each club and trained with the players for several days.

Rediscovering motivation.

Park said that they contacted each club and spoke with their chief coaches to check to assess each player. He said, “Of course, as there was no competition for a long time, the motivation was down – in the club teams. But once we started the national camp, the motivation has gone up again.”

How is Kento Momota doing?

“I think he’s back at his normal level. I had my coach visit his club team a few times. His training is going well. He was almost sure to come to the Denmark Open.”

The other side of the badminton hiatus.

Park admits that one positive thing about the badminton hiatus is that it helped the players recover and recuperate. But he feels that the hiatus was too long. He said, “For players, it was a good break to recover. If everything goes well from here on, competing in January is no problem.”

Preparing for the next chapter.

On the heavy schedule set for 2021, Park said, “I need to start preparations because next year there are several tough competitions, so I want to start scheduling.”