Monday, June 17

Shabery hopes BAM crisis can be resolved before Thomas Cup


PASIR MAS: Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek hopes the internal crisis in Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) can be resolved before the Thomas Cup finals next month.Shabery said resolving the matter was important to avoid any disruption as the country prepares to host the prestigious tournament.

“I regard the sacking of BAM honorary secretary P. Ganga Rao as BAM’s internal matter and hope it does not hamper the Thomas Cup squad’s preparations or the country’s efforts to host the tournament,” he told reporters after visiting the late Norfarahdini Zakaria’s mother in Kampung Kubang Bemban near here yesterday.

Norfarahdini, 27, a national cyclist was killed after a fall during a training session with the Royal Malaysian Navy team in Lambor Kiri near Seri Iskandar, about 60km from Ipoh.

Shabery, who handed contributions from the government to the cyclist’s mother yesterday, said he would not want to see the crisis prolonged as it might affect the performance of the players and promotion of the tournament.

In Kuala Lumpur, National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong said though he respected the decision of BAM, he was gravely concerned with the timing of such an action since the players were preparing for an important tournament.

“NSC has yet to receive a report on the sacking but I believe BAM president Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Salleh had good reasons for such an action. I will meet the coaches and players to advise them to remain focused,” he said.

Zolkples added that if Ganga was not happy with the decision (sacking), he should refer the case to the Sports Commissioner’s office.

Meanwhile, speaking of his own conflict with Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) deputy president Karim Ibrahim, Zolkples said he was ready to make peace with MAAU provided a new officer was appointed to enhance communication and cooperation between NSC and MAAU.

He added that he had contacted MAAU president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to express his opinion on the matter. “I don’t care who the officer is but what is important is that he should be able to work with NSC,” he said.

On Monday, Karim had offered to forget the issue and continue working peacefully for the benefit of the sports although he and Zolkples had several times before been involved in a clash of opinions. — Bernama