KUALA LUMPUR: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have called on fans and the media to give young and rising national shuttlers full support, and to give top shuttler Lee Chong Wei time to makes his international comeback.
BAM president Norza Zakaria said the youngsters fielded in the 2019 Malaysian Open and 2019 Sudirman Cup tournaments needed the full support of local fans as these competitions could be a platform for them to reach greater heights.
“We always wonder who will replace Chong Wei, (Goh) V Shem-(Tan) Wee Kiong, (Goh) Liu Ying-(Chan) Peng Soon. We have replacements.
“We have upgraded the Malaysian Open status and the world’s best are coming to take part. This is the chance for Malaysian fans to turn up at the Axiata Arena to support our national players.
“The players need your support. This is one way we can inspire, encourage and motivate these youngsters to move forward and replace the seniors one day,” he told reporters after the cooperation announcement between BAM and local singer Elizabeth Tan at the Academy Badminton Malaysia in Bukit Kiara today.
Tan was named as an ambassador to promote the national badminton team.
Chong Wei, who has withdrawn from the Malaysian Open on his doctor’s advice, is still unsure for the Sudirman Cup, which will be held in Nanning, China from May 19 to 26.
The 36-year-old had earlier laid off badminton for eight months after undergoing treatment for nasal cancer in Taiwan and planned to make his competitive return at the Malaysian Open after failing to make it to the All-England earlier this month.
Norza said that whether or not Chong Wei competes in the Sudirman Cup, BAM would get their players ready for the tough task awaiting them in Group D, which comprises China and India.
“For me, he (Chong Wei) has done enough for the country. All of us should just give him the time and space he needs (to fully recover) and when he is ready, he can come back.
“We do not want to put undue pressure on him to compete in the Sudirman Cup. Chong Wei himself has told me that everyone’s asking him when he’ll be back on the court. Give him space. Hopefully, no one will call him and ask him that because we too have to move on,” said Norza.