BAM boss congratulates Thomas Cup team for surpassing expectations

KUALA LUMPUR: In his eight years as president of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), Tan Sri Norza Zakaria had set several lofty targets, one of which was to bring back the coveted Thomas Cup.

On Saturday, Malaysia's impressive run at the world team championship ended in the semi-finals when they lost 3-1 to hosts China in Chengdu.

Disappointed not to go all the way, Norza still congratulated the team for surpassing expectations.

In an interview with Timesport on Sunday, Norza said: "It was a great effort, but unfortunately it was not enough to bring back the Cup.

"Nonetheless, credit must be given where it is due. We need to congratulate coaching director Rexy Mainaky, his fellow coaches, and all the players for doing their best in winning a medal.

"From the start, we knew there were some cracks in the singles because we could have taken China with two strong doubles pairs and one singles. China now is not as mighty as they say.

"I'd like to specially highlight our doubles, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani, for rising to the occasion and staying consistent.

"Youngster Justin Hoh, for me, is the star of the day and the future of Malaysian badminton. It is now up to the new president to fill in the gaps."

Norza also emphasised the importance of government support to beef up the grassroots so that more talent can come through.

"One thing I can say is BAM is still the place to be, and this has been proven.

"BAM has always been criticised, but sometimes we need to clear the bottleneck so that players like Justin can come through and shine.

"Perhaps it will be good for the government to invest more so that more work can be done at the grassroots and with the local clubs," added Norza, who will vacate his seat after the Paris Olympics in July.

The last time Malaysia reached the Thomas Cup final was 10 years ago in New Delhi, while the last time they won the title was in 1992.

Reaching the semi-finals equalled their feat at the 2016 edition in Kunshan, China.

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories