KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 (NNN-Bernama) — The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) is sticking with its target of winning the Olympic gold medal in the Paris edition in 2024, however, it does not rule out the possibility of its players bringing home medals from Tokyo this year.
BAM president Mohamad Norza Zakaria said the association would also provide support to the country’s up-and-coming young players such as All England Champion Lee Zii Jia, to do well in this year’s Games.
He stressed that young players would definitely experience ups and downs before finding consistency in their game.
“We will provide them with undivided support, and if we trust in them, I think the results will come. But to give unnecessary pressure on them is premature … Players like Zii Jia, Pearly Tan and M. Thinaah also have their own dreams, and know what the people expect from them.
“I think we will stick with the target for our young team to achieve success in Paris 2024,” he said in a press conference after launching the ‘Wall of Champions’ and presenting incentives to the winners of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Tour at Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara here, today.
Zii Jia, who emerged champion of the men’s singles event in the All England championship, received a reward of RM30,000, while women’s doubles pair Pearly-Thinaah, who won the Swiss Open, received a winning bonus of RM15,000.
Youth and Sports Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican had tipped Zii Jia as a gold medal prospect in Tokyo following his success in beating world number one Kento Momota in the quarterfinal and world number two Viktor Axelsen in the final of the All England recently.
Meanwhile, Mohamad Norza said although BAM would be sending a young squad to the Hanoi SEA Games in November this year, they were still expected to maintain the benchmark set by the players in the last edition.
“So we need to ensure that even if we send young players, it is a formidable team. We think that we should also maintain our performance at the SEA Games,” he said.
In the last edition, Zii Jia, S. Kisona (women’s singles) and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (men’s doubles) brought home gold medals, helping the national squad emerge overall champions in badminton with three gold, two silver and five bronze medals.
In the meantime, Mohamad Norza said he hoped that showcasing the success of players like Zii Jia and Pearly-Thinaah at the Wall of Champions in the ABM lobby could boost the spirits of the younger players to achieve greater success in the future.