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National Academy for Malaysia

Malaysia is to finally have its own dedicated badminton training centre. Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Abdul Razak said the national badminton academy and centre of excellence will be set up in Cheras in Kuala Lumpur.

The academy would cost almost US$7 million and will be fully equipped with facilities, gymnasium, hostel and 30 badminton courts.

Najib was quoted as saying in the local media: "The academy will be an excellence centre for the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to train players who have the potential to excel in the international arena."

The main benefit of the centre is the ability to train more athletes than current venues can accommodate for the national pool players. Up to six times more players can use the training facility.

Najib is a chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Sports and promised that the government would make efforts to recognise the achievements of the country's badminton players.

He added that he was confident Malaysia could win more honours in the international field, including gold medal at the Olympics.

In August, men's singles player Lee Chong Wei won a silver medal in the Beijing Olympics, losing to China's Lin Dan in the final.

"The better the performance in the various events, the more they will be rewarded," he said. "It is still too early to expect medals from other sports," he said.

Apart from Lee, Malaysia has also won silver and two bronze medals at the Olympics. Men's singles player Rashid Sidek won the bronze at the 1996 Olympics while his brothers, Razif and Jalani, took third place at the 1992 Barcelona Games when badminton made its debut.

Also in Atlanta, Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock won the men's doubles silver.

Malaysia have a long tradition in badminton but they have struggled to emerge from the shadow of Asian giants such as China and Indonesia.

They have recently shuffled their coaching structure with Rashid set to play a bigger role by training players for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Another one of his brothers, Misbun Sidek, is likely to remain as the men's singles coach given the success he has had with Lee.












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