BAM: Young Malaysian players need to step up in the absence of Lee Chong Wei

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Prayers and well-wishes are pouring in for Lee Chong Wei. (photo: AFP)
Prayers and well-wishes are pouring in for Lee Chong Wei. (photo: AFP)

Kuala Lumpur: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has called for its young players to up their game after Lee Chong Wei was forced to withdraw from both the 2018 World Championships and the 2018 Asian Games due to a respiratory illness.

According to Lee’s doctor, the World No. 2 would need to rest for at least a month before he could start playing competitive badminton again.

BAM’s secretary Ng Chin Chai told reporters that Malaysia’s men’s singles chief coach Misbun Sidek has been assessing a list of potential candidates to replace Lee Chong Wei at the 2018 Asian Games that will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from August 19 to August 28.

“We are allowed submit Lee Chong Wei’s replacement to the Malaysia Olympic Council. One of these three players could potentially make the cut including Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Lim Chi Wing and Tan Jia Wei.”

“The absence of Chong Wei is definitely a huge blow to Malaysia’s badminton squad as he could potentially win a medal for the country in men’s singles and a strong leader in the team event.”

“Right now, we are waiting for the decision from Misbun. We also encourage our young players to take advantage of this opportunity to step up as the average age of our men’s singles squad is below 21 years old.”

At the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, Malaysia won bronze in the men’s team event and Lee Chong Wei also brought back the men’s singles bronze medal.

The current Malaysian Asian Games badminton squad consist of Lee Zii Jia, Leong Jun Hao and Soong Joo Ven in men’s singles; as well as Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong, Teo Ee Yi/Ong Yew Sin, Chan Peng Soon/Goh Soon Huat in men’s doubles.

In another development, Ng Chin Chai also said BAM was not allowed to enlist other players to replace Lee Chong Wei at the World Championships in Nanjing, China which will begin next Monday due to restriction set by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

“Based on the BWF rules, no players from our country or players from other country can be selected to replace Chong Wei’s spot because the official draw has been finalized,” said Ng.

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