KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 – Badminton is still Malaysia’s main hope to win medals at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, said Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
“Badminton still has the best prospects at the Olympic Games even without Datuk Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia’s to shuttler). We have two more years to prepare our athletes for the Rio olympics.
“We have identified other prospects who will carry the nation’s challenge in our quest for gold medals, specifically via the doubles. As a preliminary step, we have to really identify our doubles pairs who can do it,” he said.
He told this to reporters after appearing as a guest speaker at the Leadership Series organised by the Retirement Fund Incorporated (Incorporated) (KWAP) at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here, Wednesday.
According to Khairy, focus would be given to both the men’s and women’s pairs.
“We also have other sports which have prospects at the Olympic Games. We have to diversify our source of medals,” he said.
He said it was time the country stopped depending merely on Chong Wei.
“We hope Chong Wei will still be with us (represent the nation at the Olympics). He was our hope in London (2012) and Beijing (2008). But we cannot continue to depend on Chong Wei. In the programme ‘Road To Rio’, we have identified other prospects,” he said.
On Razif Sidek’s comments that Chong Wei had been using banned substances for a long time such as that found in the doping test in Copenhagen, Khairy said the allegation from the former national badminton ace was irresponsible.
“He (Razif) is making a very serious allegation. He has to come foward and show some evidence, he can’t just make such allegations,” said Khairy.
In a related development, National Sports Institute (ISN) Chief Executive Officer Dr Ramlan Abd Aziz said ISN was compiling all relevant information for Chong Wei’s appeal over his suspension for failing a doping test.
The Badminton World Federation has handed him a provisional suspension pending the appeal.