Chong Wei's concern justified but not reflective of team's overall performance - BAM

Drastic changes cannot be made as there are only a few months left until Olympics, says body president.

22 Feb 2024 09:03am
Datuk Lee Chong Wei - Photo by Bernama
Datuk Lee Chong Wei - Photo by Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR - The concern expressed by former great Datuk Lee Chong Wei regarding the state of Malaysian badminton has basis although it does not reflect the overall performance of the current national squad, said Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria.

He said BAM had been intensifying efforts to prepare the national squad for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

However, Mohamad Norza said BAM can't make drastic changes now as there are only a few months left before the Olympics starts on July 26.

"I spoke with Chong Wei yesterday, and he is concerned for our players. I told Chong Wei that it's a concern of everyone.

"But as I commented before, we did not do badly at the Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC), as we finished runners-up (men's team) despite unexpected injuries," he said when contacted by Bernama yesterday.

Mohamad Norza said BAM is always in contact with Chong Wei, who is also a member of the Road to Gold (RTG) programme committee and the badminton team manager for the Paris Olympics

He hoped that the three-time Olympic silver medallist would be able to serve full-time to share his skills and mentor the national squad in the future.

"We are always in touch because he is part of RTG and part of our discussions in preparing the badminton team for the Olympics. Perhaps what he doesn't see (at the moment) is the many backup players (in the team).

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"Whatever the decision, we hope that maybe after the Olympics (Paris 2024) he can join BAM. We take good feedback from Chong Wei but it is better for him to give his input from within the BAM framework," he said.

He said Chong Wei's commitment to elevating badminton in this country should be appreciated. With his expertise and remarkable 19-year journey marked by numerous accomplishments on both domestic and international stages, his contributions stand as a testament to his enduring commitment.

"I welcome it wholeheartedly because Chong Wei is an authority who can speak on this matter. If it was someone not connected to the sport, I would indeed be concerned, but he is an authority,” he said.

Yesterday, the singles legend said he was fearful about the future of Malaysian badminton after the national team’s mixed fortunes at BATC last week.

"We have to make some drastic changes... if not, we will be left behind, left far behind and badminton will no longer be one of the top sports in this country. I really can’t bear to face that,” The Star quoted the 41-year-old Chong Wei as saying.

The national men's squad failed to retain the team title when they lost 0-3 to China in the final at the Setia City Convention Centre, Shah Alam.

The country's top two players, Lee Zii Jia and Ng Tze Yong, had to skip several matches, including the final, due to health issues and injuries.

The national women's squad lost 0-3 to defending champions Indonesia in the quarterfinals. - BERNAMA