Badminton Life

Malaysian Badminton Chief Offers Gold Medal Challenge to Olympians

Malaysia's badminton chief has challenged the country's Olympic squad to bring back a gold medal - and he was backed by thousands of fans all over the country.

A huge banner, measuring 8m by 9.2m was displayed at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara earlier this week as a gesture of support to the Malaysian badminton team. The banner has thousands of signatures from well-wishers around the country who hope Malaysia can break their gold medal duck at the Olympics.

The banner is aimed at providing inspiration to the Malaysian players, who will feel encouraged knowing that the entire nation is behind them.

And Mohd Nadzmi Salleh, president of the Badminton Association of Malaysia, told the players not to let all those fans down and return home with gold.

Naturally, world number two men's singles player Lee Chong Wei was foremost among the player Nadzmi mentioned as having a chance to win gold.

"Our players have a good chance as they have been working hard," he was quoted as saying in The Star. "If they can manage their game well, I see no reason why we cannot win a gold medal. This is the best opportunity for most of them, who are at the peak of their career.

"If they miss this, they will have to wait another four years for the opportunity to play. Playing in the Olympics always gives them an extra boost as it is not an ordinary Open tournament.

"This is what we expect from them. Chong Wei has beaten the other top players, including (China's world number one and gold medal favourite) Lin Dan on his home ground before."

Lee raised eyebrows at the Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta in May when he beat Lin in the semi-finals, although Malaysia were beaten 3-2 by eventual champions China.

The victory was significant because of the competitive nature of the match.

Added Nadzmi: "If Chong Wei can repeat the performance in the Thomas Cup Finals recently, I believe he can challenge strongly in Beijing."

Malaysia's best performance in Olympic badminton was a silver medal by the men's doubles team at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

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