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Malaysian PM plans academy for shuttlers

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has announced plans to set up a badminton academy to re-establish his country's position as leaders of the sport.

"If there is no systematic development in the sport we may run out of players of calibre in the future," Najib was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.

The PM said potential locations for the national academy were being identified and pledged ministerial help for the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) with its administrative processes.

"They can arrange for our players to arrive at overseas venues earlier, so they have more time to prepare," he said.

Najib also said the government would stump up 2.0 million ringgit ($600,000) to pay bonuses in arrears for players and coaches.

The cash allocation was announced after Malaysia's world number one Lee Chong Wei won his first All England title at the weekend.

China has overtaken Malaysia as the dominant force in world badminton in recent years, underlining their strength by winning four of the five titles at the 2009 world championships.

Source from Reuters

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