LEE Chong Wei, despite the probability of a weak team, still harbours hopes of helping Malaysia to reach at least the semi-finals in the Thomas Cup finals in New Delhi in May.Chong Wei said players like Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren should be persisted with and he also felt that doubles Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah will provide Malaysia a fighting chance to achieve the last four target.
Not only did Chong Wei sound optimistic, he also lobbied for the inclusion of independent player Misbun Ramdan Misbun who he feels is good enough to be named as the reserve in the Thomas Cup squad.
"If we are well prepared, we can fight for at least a place in the semi-finals of the Thomas Cup despite the majority of our team members still being young," said Chong Wei after receiving incentives from the BA of Malaysia (BAM) for winning the All England and other international tournaments at Juara Stadium yesterday.
"We have to try our best and I believe there is hope to fight with other teams.
"China will be tough but they are not formidable in the doubles.
"They will rely on their singles with Chen Long as the number one, Du Pengyu as the second singles and Lin Dan as playing as the third singles.
"Ramdan is currently ranked fourth (in Malaysia) and has been more consistent and he should be our reserve singles."
BAM has been conducting trials to select the reserves which will conclude at Juara Stadium today.
Chong Wei received a total of RM80,000 for winning the Super Series Masters Finals in December (RM30,000), Malaysia Open (RM25,000) and All England (RM25,000) two weeks ago.
V Shem-Khim Wah will share RM25,000 for winning the Malaysia Open while women's doubles Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei will split the RM28,000 they received for winning the Sea Games gold in Myanmar in December.
Meanwhile, BAM president Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff, who chaired the executive committee (Exco) meeting yesterday, confirmed that Misbun Sidek has rejected the association's offer to become the coaching director citing personal problems.
No new candidates will be sought as Tengku Mahaleel believes the current coaching structure can run the programme without the presence of a coaching director.
BAM will also reintroduce the previous system where Rashid Sidek will become the singles chief coach while a doubles chief coach will be announced soon.
BAM has also received the green light from the public works department to begin the construction of the centre of excellence at Bukit Kiara where a complex that will be able to house 200 players as well as an 18-court hall will be built. It is expected to be completed within 18 months. By K.M. Boopathy
Read more: Chong Wei targets semi-finals - Badminton - New Straits Times