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Rashid Sidek wants his players to learn from Viktor Axelsen’s short training stint at the Sports Affairs Badminton Academy last week. - NSTP/ MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN

KUALA LUMPUR: Former international, Rashid Sidek wants his charges to learn a thing or two from Denmark's Viktor Axelsen, who trained at the Sports Affairs Badminton Academy last week.

The Danish former world champion, who is making a comeback after an injury laden 2018, decided to make Kuala Lumpur his training base ahead of his bid to defend the men's singles title at the Malaysia Masters next week.

Rashid, who coaches independent players like Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng, when contacted, said: "It all worked out well for both Axelsen and the club (Sports Affairs Badminton Academy), so that's why he chose to make KL his training base ahead of the Malaysia Masters next week.

"Both Axelsen and Daren played for the same team (Ahmedabad) in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) in India, and instead of flying back to train in Denmark, Axelsen came here.

"I think it was good for both parties because our players were inspired to train alongside a former world champion and Axelsen got quality sparing."

Since his second round defeat at the Denmark Open last October, Axelsen was sidelined for several weeks due to an aggravated ankle injury.

The World No 6, however, quickly bounced back and used the PBL as a platform to slowly regain his form.

"I am impressed with Axelsen purely by his professionalism," added Rashid, who quit the BA of Malaysia (BAM) in 2015.

"As you know there is an ongoing battle in Denmark between the national body and professional players, but all that does not affect him as his focus is purely on badminton.

"For someone his age, he possesses such high level of professionalism. His attitude towards training on court, the seriousness, is all different.

"If he is supposed to train for 90 minutes, be rest assured he makes the best out of it. Sometimes we look at our local players, and they can't wait to be done with training but with Axelsen, it's different.

"He reminds me of players like Lee Chong Wei and South Korea's Lee Hyun Ill, who also trains here at Sports Affairs. They make sure they get that quality training, no compromise.

"And if there's one thing I admire about European based players especially is they do everything on their own.

“From tournament registration, training scheduling, planning and everything else, they do not depend on anybody. They do it all on their own.

"I really hope our local players will use this opportunity to learn a thing or two," Rashid added.

Axelsen will begin his title defence against Japan's Kazumasa Sakai in the first round on Wednesday, while 2018 World Championships bronze medallist, Daren takes on eighth seed Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia.

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