Olympic gold top priority — BAM

FOR YOU: Rosmah (left) receives a racquet from Chong Wei at the Prime Minister’s residence in Jalan Duta while Nadzmi Salleh (right) looks on. — Bernama photo

Association to assist Chong Wei in preparation for London 2012, says president

KUALA LUMPUR: The Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) main focus for the year will be to assist world number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei’s preparations to win the country’s first ever gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics, its President Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh said.

Nadzmi said the association would make sure all preparations for the Olympics in August 2012 remains on the right track.

However, focus would also be on the ongoing Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium, Asian Zone Thomas Cup qualifying in Macau next month and the All-England in March, he said.

“The Olympics is our main focus and target because this is BAM’s best opportunity to win a gold medal. We want to ensure that Chong Wei’s preparations will get top priority,” he said after meeting the Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor together with Chong Wei at the Prime Minister’s residence in Jalan Duta, here yesterday.

Nadzmi said he had held discussions with the National Sports Institute (ISN) on the strategy and plans for Chong Wei’s preparations.

“The preparations will go on for five or six months,” he said.

Nadzmi added that BAM was also in discussions with a number of relevant authorities, including the Works Ministry, to expedite the setting up of the National Badminton Academy that was delayed a number of times.

“The delay was due to a change in the proposed venue and the cost involved,” he said.

During the National Sports Convention in 2008, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who was then the Deputy Prime Minister (now Prime Minister) had announced a RM24 million allocation for setting up the academy.

A year later the Youth and Sports Ministry identified a 3.3 hectare site in Taman Maluri, Cheras to set up a National Badminton Excellence Centre.

However, in 2010, the ministry decided that a new 3.3 hectare site in Jalan Cochrane, Cheras was more suitable for the academy, but that proposal was shot down due to the high price of the land owned by the Department of Environment.

Subsequently, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek announced early last year that the academy would be build in Labu, Negeri Sembilan. — Bernama

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