Chong Wei slams shuttlers' performances at BATC

KUALA LUMPUR: Former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has once again criticised Malaysian shuttlers following several questionable performances at the Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC).

The three-time Olympic silver medallist told Timesport that players can only improve if they truly want to.

As the old saying goes, 'You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." In other words, the horse will only drink if it is thirsty.

On Friday, the Malaysian women's team failed to qualify for the Uber Cup Finals on merit after crashing out in the quarter-finals, suffering a 3-0 defeat to Indonesia at the Setia City Convention Centre (SCC) in Selangor.

BA of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Rexy Mainaky singled out top women's doubles player M. Thinaah for what he deemed a lack of self-confidence and displaying negative body language on the court.

This did not sit well with local badminton fans, who felt it was unfair to blame Thinaah alone, considering she is a doubles player.

It is important to note that Thinaah, who partners Pearly Tan, was the women's team captain for the competition.

Chong Wei, a member of the Road to Gold (RTG) programme and the team manager for the badminton squad bound for the Paris Olympics in July, admitted that times have changed and how current players think is very different from when he was playing.

In fact, Chong Wei reiterated that the RTG is always ready to help exceptional athletes with their needs, but the athletes must also show that they really want it.

One example would be sending those under the RTG programme abroad for training stints before the Paris Games.

"I was slammed by fans when I said our Malaysian players are too comfortable. It's okay because fans will be fans, and they want the positives.

"When it comes to Malaysian badminton, who dares to speak out?

"We've had countless RTG meetings to discuss how the programme intends to help our Olympic-bound players, but how much do the players want it?

"We can only help so much; the rest is up to them," said Chong Wei.

Following the exit of the women's team, BAM confirmed they have engaged veteran sports psychologist Frederick Tan to work with shuttlers under the RTG programme until the Olympics.

Frederick, who has worked closely with Chong Wei in the past, will report for duty next week.

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