Fans in Europe support their shuttlers no matter how well or badly they play. – Photo copyright allenglandbadminton.com
LET’S face it ... Malaysian supporters aren’t exactly the nicest people out there.
This is especially true of the supporters for one of the biggest sports back home – badminton.
When our Malaysian players are winning and everything is going well, the fans are happy and they will scream and shout praises and cheers.
But when our shuttlers aren’t doing so well, you’ll hear boos from our very own fans. Some even hurl insults and write hurtful things in social media.
It’s true that world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei is just about the only thing that is keeping the badminton interest alive in the country.
When Chong Wei eventually does retire, Malaysians will not have much to look forward to in the international badminton scene.
So, I can understand why people get excited about badminton and want to see only the best from our national shuttlers.
Of course, right now the likes of Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren, and even further down guys like Soo Teck Zhi and Soong Joo Ven, are nowhere near the level of Chong Wei.
No one said it would be easy to emulate Chong Wei’s feats.
We all know that some of these players will probably never be half as good as Chong Wei!
But, frankly, it’s not for the lack of trying.
I know, for a fact, that the players take their training – and career – seriously.
That is why it bothers me when I see comments like “he’s not going to make it, why are we wasting time on him”, or “at 23 years old, China’s players are already winning titles”.
Come on people, let’s be real. No one is born a world champion ... not even in the China team (unless we’re talking about an exceptional shuttler like Chen Long).
Winners are made, not born. Sometimes, players just need to be loved by the supporters – more so during bad times – for them to be able to step it up.
Perhaps, Malaysian supporters should take a trip to European badminton tournaments and see for themselves how the fans treat their own players.
Here at the All-England in Birmingham, the English players receive generous applause from the crowd, even though they end up losing badly.
The point I’m trying to make is that we should be supporting our athletes.
Even if we know they are going through a bad patch ... or even if we know they will probably never be a winner.
What’s the point of supporting them only when they win. A true supporter sticks with his player/team through thick and thin.
Kng Zheng Guan hopes to see more Malaysians at the National Indoor Arena for future All-England badminton championships.