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Monday December 31, 2012
By ASHREENA PILLAI
KUALA LUMPUR: A RM1mil reward will be given to a shuttler who wins a gold in the 2016 Olympic Games. The coach will also get RM1mil for his efforts in producing the gold medallist.
And should a doubles pair emerge triumphant in Rio de Janeiro, the reward will be shared by all three. And if there is no winner in Rio, the offer still stands for the 2020 Games.
But there is a catch. The reward, offered by Senheng Electric (KL) and Samsung, is only for players from the Looi Badminton Academy (LBA).
The incentive was announced during LBA’s inaugural annual dinner at Sports Arena, Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday.
Lim Kim Heng, the managing director of Senheng Electric, said the offer was made early to motivate the players at the academy.
“The 2016 Olympics is four years away so it will give them time to internalise that dream. It’s a great mental motivator. I’m sure the players’ families and friends will be behind them and encouraging them all they way,” said Kim Heng.
“We made the offer to both the player and coach because one will not achieve success without the other. We want this to be a concerted effort. It’s an incentive for both to work hard. And I think they’ve got a great set-up here and hopefully, with this incentive, future Olympic champion will come out of Looi BA,” he added.
Kim Heng, however, quipped: “In the final, after he or she wins the last point, they must come and hug me first! If they hug their coach, there will be no reward.”
LBA chief coach Cheah Soon Kit, a member of the 1992 Thomas Cup winning team and 1996 Olympic silver medallist, was delighted with the offer.
“It’s a good gesture by Senheng and Samsung to offer the reward. It will definitely motivate and encourage our players to look forward to the Olympics,” he said.
“Our recruitment is on-going and it’s not easy to find a talent with skills.
“They must also have the right attitude. But it’s not an impossible target to win an Olympic gold. We will try our best and we have to think positive. Anything is possible,” added Soon Kit.
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