Saturday March 2, 2013
Chong Wei to shuttlers: Stay loyal to BAM
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei left for Birmingham yesterday with a timely message for budding shuttlers: Be loyal to the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
Chong Wei, who is seeking his third All-England title in Birmingham next week, said he would not have achieved his staggering number of titles and accolades if not for the regimented training, good facilities and quality sparring he enjoyed in his 12 years with the national team.
Three singles players – Tan Chun Seang, Chan Kwong Beng and Misbun Ramdan Misbun – have left the BAM’s fold for various reasons in the last two years.
“To me, it’s best to stay with BAM. I’ve achieved a lot under BAM. I’ve had my struggles too but it’s always best to communicate well with the administrators and find amicable solutions,” said Chong Wei after completing his last day of training at Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara yesterday.
“My only concern when the juniors leave BAM is the lack of sparring partners for them. If they are with BAM, they can spar with me or Liew Daren or Chong Wei Feng.
“Anyway, that’s my opinion. All the players who left are mature enough to make their own decisions.”
On his chances in the All-England, Chong Wei remains positive. He won the title in 2010 and 2011 but withdrew from last year’s final against China’s Lin Dan with a shoulder injury.
This year, Lin Dan is not around but there’ll be five other China shuttlers around – second seed Chen Long, former world champion Chen Jin, Du Pengyu, Wang Zhengming and Gao Han.
“The field is still strong with several Chinese players in the fray but I’m still hungry for success,” said Chong Wei, who will take on spunky Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong in the first round on Wednesday.
If Chong Wei can nick his third All-England title, it’ll also be his third Super Series title of the year. The two-time Olympic Games silver medallists had won the season-opening Korean Open and Malaysian Open. “I plan to compete in 10 Super Series this year ... if I can win all, it’ll be great,” he said with a laugh.
Chong Wei’s other major event is the World Championships in Guangzhou in August, where he hopes to become the country’s first-ever world champion.
“I’m selective this year. I am not going to compete in all tournaments and have withdrawn from the Axiata Cup.
“Let Daren and Wei Feng take a bigger role in the team event. I want to concentrate on the Sudirman Cup and World Championships. But for now, my focus is the All-England,” he said.