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Lee Chong Wei suggests 'drastic changes' as Malaysia failed to win title at BATC 2024

Lee, the three-time Olympic silver medallist, suggested that Malaysia, the host of the recently held Badminton Asia Team Championships, should take lessons from India, which won the women's team title with youngsters playing crucial roles in the success.

Lee Chong Wei suggests drastic changes as Malaysia failed to win title at BATC 2024

Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei is unhappy with the national teams' performance at the recently held Badminton Asia Team Championships in Shah Alam.


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 21 Feb 2024 7:27 AM GMT

Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei accused senior men's players of lacking commitment and discipline as they lost 0-3 to China in the final at the Asia Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

Lee, who retired from badminton in 2019, is doubtful about the future of Malaysian badminton after the host's lacklustre performance in front of home fans in Shah Alam.

While the men's team failed to win its maiden title, the women's team's campaign ended in the quarterfinals with a 0-3 defeat to Indonesia.

“Right now I feel like giving up on Malaysian badminton,” Lee was quoted as saying by Malaysian daily The Star.

"I know the truth hurts, but I think Malaysian badminton will only go downhill from here if nothing is done,” the 41-year-old, who won three Olympic silver medals and as many Worlds medals, added.

In the final, China hammered Malaysia 3-0 after Weng Hong Yang defeated Leong Jun Hao, who was playing the first match in the absence of world no. 10 Lee Zii Jia, 21-19, 21-17 in 51 minutes.

In the second men's singles match, China doubled its lead through a three-game (21-16, 16-21, 23-21) win by Xie Hao Nan-Zeng Wei Han over world number five duo Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik.

China sealed the maiden Asian men's team title after Lei Lan Xi, playing the second men's singles match, beat Eogene Ewe 21-10, 21-14.

In the wake of this hapless performance, Lee urged the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to promote younger players in senior events while accusing the current batch of players of lacking discipline and commitment.

“We have to make some drastic changes,” suggested Lee.

“If not, we will be left behind, left far behind, and badminton will no longer be one of the top sports in this country. I really can’t bear to face that,” he added.

Lee urged BAM to take lessons from India

In the men's team final, Lee Zii Jia pulled out citing health issues, while Malaysia's second most preferred men's singles player Ng Tze Yong was still recovering from a back injury suffered during the Championships.

As younger players failed to pull their socks up in the absence of senior players, Lee alleged that the BAM is reckless about grooming the next batch of players, who, he feels, are not ready to sustain the rigour of the senior circuit.

Lee cited the example of how India reared its younger players. The Indian women's team's title-winning show steered by youngsters like Anmol Kharb, Treesa Jolly, Gayatri Gopichand and Ashmita Chaliha caught the attention of the Malaysian legend.

“There were setbacks with our top singles players but the fact is that even our back-up players are not on par yet. Other teams rested their top players and gave a full mandate to their backup, but we didn’t take such a risk.

“We had our best doubles but at times, they could not even match the teams that brought their second stringers. The women too, despite some new faces, have not moved forward. First-time champions India had paraded many youngsters," concluded Lee.

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