NO HOPE: Chong Wei’s injury blows chance for Olympic gold, so now any colour will do for BAM
THE BA of Malaysia's (BAM) hopes of ending the country's long wait for an Olympic gold is all but gone following Lee Chong Wei's ankle injury in the Thomas Cup Finals but nonetheless, its president, Datuk Seri Nadzmi Salleh, wants the shuttlers to return with at least a medal from London next month.
Chong Wei's consistency and form for the last two years have pointed towards winning Olympic gold but the freak injury in Wuhan last month has dashed the Malaysian dream. Chong Wei has shown strong resilience and has been recovering fast from the injury. He is expected to resume full training in two weeks but that may not be enough time to prepare for battle against the China trio of Lin Dan, Chen Long and Chen Jin.
Nadzmi said Chong Wei has been going through a tough time and BAM does want to put more pressure on the shuttler as he is fighting against time to earn a medal in London.
"Everyone's aim is to win gold in the Olympics, and the association, if not gold, wants to contribute at least a medal for Malaysia," said Nadzmi.
"Chong Wei's injury is unexpected and we don't want to put any added pressure on him. Chong Wei will do his best in London. We are expecting the medal can be achieved by any of them.
"Chong Wei has created an uncertainty and this is what makes sports exciting. There are another three weeks before the team leave for training at the University of Bath and we will have to see how Chong Wei recovers. He is a strong character and you can never count anyone out."
Nadzmi added: "Men's doubles Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong are there and mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying have also improved. So, let's hope that one of them bring back a medal."
Malaysia finished empty-handed in 2000 (Sydney) and 2004 (Athens) but Chong Wei saved us the blushes after securing silver in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Chong Wei was expected to at least bag the silver, until sustaining the injury, and it will now be an achievement if he can return with the bronze from London.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong have been in a rut and it looks tough for them to overcome the top four pairs -- Jun Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae of South Korea, China's Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng, Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark and South Koreans Ko Sung Hyun-Yoo Yeon Seong -- to secure a medal.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying have shown marked improvement but their inability to perform in major events will be a factor in the Olympics.
Nadzmi has no choice but to be optimistic but in reality, Malaysia will be hard pressed to win a medal and finishing another Games empty-handed looms large.