I was approached by bookies too, says Chong Wei

lee_chong_weiPETALING JAYA: The issue of match-fixing is nothing new in badminton, admits Malaysia’s top player of the past decade, Lee Chong Wei.

The former World No 1 told New Straits Times that even he had been approached by a bookie a few years ago.

“Yes, I was approached, but I turned down the offer because money is not everything to me.

“For me, national pride comes first and it is my responsibility to uphold it,” Chong Wei told the daily.

He said he felt he would be letting down the country had he given in to the temptation.

Saying that there are no shortcuts to success, Chong Wei, 36, also warned his national teammates to stay clear of match-fixing.

On Feb 13, it was reported that the BWF was investigating an international player who had represented Malaysia at the World Championships and the All-England badminton tournaments last year.

The player, who was said to have been monitored by the BWF since February last year, is expected to be brought to face the BWF at its headquarters in Singapore next week to answer the allegations.

In the meantime, BWF has provisionally suspended the player from all badminton competitions.

The player faces a lifetime ban if found guilty by the sport’s world governing body.

“As a top player, I feel embarrassed and ashamed. I hope the case comes to an end soon.

“I also understand that BAM will take a stern action against any player involved in match-fixing,” Chong Wei said, according to NST.

The national badminton number one is not the first to admit being approached by bookies.

One half of the famous doubles team, which won the All-England Championship in 1982, was reported to have said that he too was approached by bookies when he was in his prime.

Jalani Sidek said this happened in the 1980s, with the bookie paying him a visit during a practice session at the badminton hall in Kampung Attap in Kuala Lumpur.

“The man wanted me and my brother Razif to lose our game against Li Yong Bo and Tian Bingyi,” he said in an interview in 2014.

“I rejected the offer without a second thought. Accepting it meant exposing myself to danger if I did not meet the bookie’s objective. Razif and I won and entered the final.

“There is no point in coaches training players if they sell the matches,” Jalani said, adding that the fixing of badminton matches was nothing new but lack of evidence made it difficult to charge these players.

Player in match-fixing probe not under BAM, says MACC