Just a winner after Chong Wei will do for now
LEE Chong Wei has been nothing but spectacular and on Sunday cemented his name as one of the best in the world when he clinched his fourth All England title after reaching his seventh final in Birmingham.
And to the joy of everyone else, the 35-year-old shuttler announced that he will return to defend his title in 2017 — which means Chong Wei will not retire this year.
The BA of Malaysia (BAM) have also pledged their support to his cause and I’m certain that many will be jumping on to the bandwagon in the coming months.
But how is this improving the state of badminton in our country?
Chong Wei’s first All England title was in 2010 and since then, no other Malaysian shuttler has even made it to the men’s singles final.
Players like Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren were never in the same league and quit the national team out of frustration.
They had the same coaches — Tey Seu Bock and Hendrawan — as Chong Wei and I’m quite sure the same programme as well, but why are the rest of the Malaysian shuttlers so far behind?
Looking at the current crop of men’s singles, Malaysia has Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, reigning national champion Lim Chi Wing, former Asian junior champion Soo Teck Zhi, Soong Joo Ven and Chong Yee Han — just to name a few.
Are they the next Chong Wei? I don’t know, but what I do know is none of them have even won a GP or GP Gold tournament yet.
How will these players match up to the likes of Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen or China’s Shi Yuqi who is only 21, and already making waves on the international stage
They may not be their country’s national No 1, but they are already top 10 in the world.
Chong Wei had previously said that it’s best to forget about looking for a replacement as it will take another 20-30 years and perhaps it’s better to focus on producing players in the mould of Hafiz Hashim or Wong Choong Hann.
Well, sorry to burst the bubble but I don’t see anyone coming close to even their standards. So what will BAM do? My expectations are not high at all, I’m just wondering if they can guarantee that in the next two years, at least one of the shuttlers from the ‘Special Project’ squad — other than Chong Wei — will win a GP or GP Gold tournament.
After all, they are training and sparring with the World No 1, aren’t they?