Badminton Life

BAM Gets RM2 Mln To Settle Arrears In Payments

KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 (Bernama) - The government will contribute RM2 million to the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to settle arrears in its payments, including bonuses to players and coaches, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said on Tuesday.

He said he had discussions with Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Shabery Cheek on determining a method for the BAM administration to get assistance from the National Sports Council (NSC).

"For example, to enable our players going abroad for tournaments to travel much earlier than the competition dates so as to better prepare themselves," he told reporters after meeting Malaysia's World No. 1 shuttler Datuk Lee Chong Wei who had called on him at his residence, here. (Chong Wei had won the All-England badminton men's singles title on Sunday.)

Also present was Najib's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and national badminton coach Datuk Misbun Sidek.

Najib said the government would also set up a badminton academy to mould strong second echelon players to strengthen the country's position in the sport in the world arena.

"Unless there is continual development of sports, especially badminton, there is a possibility we will run out of players of calibre in the future.

"We want Malaysia to maintain the top position in badminton, more so now that badminton is an Olympic sport. Our dream to win the nation's first Olympic gold medal is most probably possible in badminton," he said.

On the academy, Najib said the government was deciding on the location, adding that the effort involved two ministries - Youth and Sports, and Education.

The prime minister said Chong Wei's All-England victory was a great boost for the Malaysian team to win the Thomas Cup at the tournament to be held in Kuala Lumpur in May.

"That's our target. We will focus on the desire to win the Thomas Cup," he said.

Najib said he did not want the national badminton players to feel emotionally and psychologically pressured by the nation's hopes on them winning the Thomas Cup but wanted them to focus on preparing themselves as best as they could.

At the meeting with Chong Wei, Najib extended his congratulations to the player and said his victory was a gift for all Malaysians.

"This was a much-awaited victory because it is height of individual competition (in badminton). On top of that, it was the centennial edition of the All-England," he said.

Source from BERNAMA

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