Choong Hann to get just rewards for Birmingham show

PETALING JAYA: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will make an exception for Wong Choong Hann so the shuttlers will be rewarded for his historic second place finish in the World Championships in Birmingham. 

Last Sunday, the 26-year-old Choong Hann became the first Malaysian to reach the men's singles final in the world meet. He went down fighting 6-15, 15-13, 6-15 to China's Xia Xuanze. 

Under the BAM incentive scheme, only the world champion stands to receive RM20,000. There are no monetary rewards for the runner-up. 

Yesterday, BAM secretary P. Ganga Rao said they make an exception for Choong Hann. 

“In our scheme, only the champion gets rewarded. But Choong Hann has done our country proud with his achievement. He has created history deserves to be rewarded,” said Ganga. 

“The BAM will look at this matter and we will discuss it. Currently, our president (Datuk Nadzmi Mohd Salleh) is still out of the country. Once he is back, we will be able to work out something for Choong Hann,” he said. 

Ganga said Choong Hann however, would enjoy the international ranking bonus. The World Championships is a seven-star tournament but it does not offer prize money. But it is a highly-rated tournament and it contributes valuable rankings points for Choong Hann.  

From ninth place, he has moved up to a fourth in the world rankings now.  

A player who manages to get among the top four in the world can earn more than RM15,000 a month under the BAM's international ranking incentive scheme. 

The National Sports Council (NSC) are also currently reviewing their incentive scheme for athletes.  

The BAM had appealed to the NSC to include the World Championships under their incentive scheme and they are expected to announce a lucrative deal for Choong Hann. 

Besides Choong Hann, Mohd Roslin Hashim also did well in Birmingham when he reached the quarter-finals, equalling Rashid Sidek's feats of Beijing '87 and Laussane '95. 

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