Don't let opponents intimidate you, minister tells shuttlers


YOUTH and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said wants all the shuttlers to adopt the winning mentality when they take to the court for the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals, which begin tomorrow at the Senayan Indoor Stadium in Jakarta. 

Azalina, who gave the team a morale-boosting send-off at the KLIA in Sepang yesterday, said that the players should not allow themselves to be intimidated by their more fancied opponents, especially defending champions Indonesia and top seeds China. 

“As far as I'm concerned, our chances of winning are as good as any one,” said Azalina. 

She hoped that the players would give their level best to reach the final. 

Malaysia last won the Thomas Cup in 1992 in Kuala Lumpur. Since then, Malaysia have reached the final three times – in 1994, 1998 and 2002. 

“If you are in the final, I will be there to support you, regardless of how busy I am. I hope you will not disappoint me,” said Azalina. 

Also present to send off the players were the National Sports Council (NSC) director general, Datuk Mazlan Ahmad, and the officer-in-charge of international preparations, Ahmad Shapawi Ismail. 

They arrived at the Soekarno International Airport after a two-hour flight and were cleared by the Indonesian authorities after a long wait. 

Home for the shuttlers for the duration of the Finals is the Hilton Hotel, which is nearby to the venue of competition. 

The organisers have taken extra security precaution for the Finals. All bags were scanned at the entrance of the hotel and everyone applying for the identification tag have to go through the finger-printing process. 

The Malaysian singles players for the Thomas Cup are Wong Choong Hann, Roslin Hashim, Lee Chong Wei, Mohd Hafiz Hashim and Lee Tsuen Seng. In the doubles line-up are Choong Tan Fook, Lee Wan Wah, Chan Chong Ming, Chew Choon Eng and Koo Kien Keat. 

Gan Teik Chai, who partners Kien Keat, but is now undergoing rehabilitation is with the team as a sparring partner. 

The Uber Cup team comprise Wong Mew Choo, Woon Sze Mei, Norsyahliza Baharum, Anita Kaur, K. Sugita for the singles and doubles players Chin Eei Hui, Wong Pei Tty, Mooi Hing Yau, Ooi Sock Ai and Fong Chew Yen. 

Choong Hann and Mew Choo are the skippers of the team. 

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