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Chong Wei now on course to beat his career best nine titles (pic)

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Category: Badminton News Published: 17 May 2011
Written by BadmintonPlanet.com Hits: 810

ALOR SETAR: The fans adore him. The rivals look at him in awe. And the sponsors just love him.

World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei is enjoying his best years in badminton and with his determination to keep the hot run going for at least one more year, he may nail for Malaysia their first-ever title in the world championships and Olympics.

On Sunday, the 29-year-old Chong Wei captured the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold title – his fifth this year and a 36th career Open title since he went on the international stage in 2002.Thanks for the support: Lee Chong Wei has already won five titles this year.

His career best season thus far was last year when he nailed a total of nine titles, including the Commonwealth Games individual gold medal. And he is on track to better the record this season.

The fans flock in droves wherever the megastar goes and his opponents have now rated him as a favourite title contender for the world championships in Wembley, London, from Aug 8-14 and also at the Olympics at the same venue next year.

His career best season thus far was last year when he nailed a total of nine titles, including the Commonwealth Games individual gold medal. And he is on track to better the record this season.

 

The fans flock in droves wherever the megastar goes and his opponents have now rated him as a favourite title contender for the world championships in Wembley, London, from Aug 8-14 and also at the Olympics at the same venue next year.

Chong Wei has also finally beaten his nemesis, Lin Dan of China, to nail a major title at the All-England last March.

Chong Wei is bringing joy but it should not cloud a really big fear in Malaysian badminton – the absence of quality men’s singles players coming through to challenge strongly on the international stage.

In the Malaysia Open GP Gold, the poor showing of four elite shuttlers – Tan Chun Seang, Liew Daren, Chan Kwong Beng and Chong Wei Feng – again showed the huge gulf in the standard between the country’s second stringers and Chong Wei.

Said national coach Rashid Sidek: “I have not seen any players as dedicated and as committed as Chong Wei.

“He may be a superstar now but he has not forgotten the basics – to work hard, to take care of his food intake and sleeping habits. He is respectful and has not let success get to his head.

“And my heart aches for the current group of players we have. They are not following in the footsteps of Chong Wei.”

Several back-up shuttlers like Goh Soon Huat, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and Misbun Ramdan Misbun showed progress but whether they will be ready to take over the mantle when Chong Wei retires after the London Oly­mpic Games is a big question mark.

“They need more time,” says coach Hendrawan.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will immediately shift their focus from Alor Setar to their emergency general meeting (EGM) on Saturday to appoint their second deputy president.

But instead of channelling their energy to internal politics, as it always has been, it is high time that they give more focus on the development programme of the game in the country or face the humiliation of serving in an association without quality players.

Thanks to Chong Wei, Maybank are coming in a big way as sponsors to piggy ride on his success and it is learnt that the corporate sector will be pumping in about RM5mil for the BAM’s programme.

The bulk of the money should go to the states to revive their grassroots programmes.

Promises have been made in the past that badminton in schools will get priority but sadly, it has all been an empty gong.

Malaysia certainly do not lack talent or enthusiastic youngsters hoping to make it big. But it is in the BAM neglecting state programmes and the transition group of players from the ages of 18 to 22 that are proving to be costly.

Drastic and radical changes are needed to develop and achieve excellence for Malaysian badminton. Otherwise, the fans and sponsors will be leaving the stage too after Chong Wei quits the game.

 

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