Badminton Life

Win Thomas Cup For The People, Najib Tells BAM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 (Bernama) -- Fresh from Datuk Lee Chong Wei's All England victory, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) on Wednesday was given a new assignment by the prime minister -- win the Thomas Cup in May.

"This is the next task for the BAM, especially for Datuk Nadzmi (Salleh) (BAM president); win the Thomas Cup for Malaysia," Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said at a luncheon to celebrate Lee's All England victory attended by members of parliament at the Banquet Hall, parliament house.

Also present were Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor who is also the BAM patron, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, National Sports Council Director-General Datuk Zolkples Embong and national badminton coach Datuk Misbun Sidek.

Malaysia, which last won the Thomas Cup 11 years ago, will host the tournament this year. The championship will be held on May 9-16 at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Najib said the government would continue to support badminton as the sport was a medal prospect for Malaysia and that the next target would be to win the country's first Olympic gold.

Najib said Lee's victory at the All England on the tournament's 100th year was special as his combination with coach Misbun epitomised the very spirit of 1Malaysia.

"I want to say that the combination of Chong Wei and Misbun gives meaning to the 1Malaysia vision. It transcends races and it is successful, in the spirit of 1Malaysia, 1People, 1Nation," he said.

Najib said Lee went through numerous challenges to be where he was now, including people ridiculing his position as the world number one when he had not yet won some of the world's most prestigious badminton championships.

The prime minister said Lee's All England title would now silence his critics and pave the way for more victories.

"I hope Chong Wei can continue to defend the title. We do not want a one-time victory," he said.

Lee, 28, won the All England on Monday, beating Japan's rising star Kenichi Tago 21-19, 21-19, and put himself as the fifth Malaysian All England winner after Muhammad Hafiz Hashim, Wong Peng Soon, Datuk Eddy Choong and Tan Aik Huang.

Source from BERNAMA

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