SUBANG JAYA: The time is right for Malaysia’s Thomas Cup players to shine at home after living in the shadows of China and Indonesia for about two decades.
Yesterday, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim threw down the gauntlet at the shuttlers to end a long wait for the prestigious world men’s team badminton title.
And the challenge was immediately taken up by world No. 1 and team skipper Lee Chong Wei during an official launch of the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals hosted by title sponsors Proton.
An official website (www.thomasuberkl2010.com) for the Finals, which will be held at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil from May 9-16, was also launched yesterday.
Razali hoped that the Malaysian team would overcome whatever obstacles to regain the Cup last won at home in 1992.
“In a week’s time, Malaysia will finalise their team for the Finals. We have good players and I have the confidence in them. I expect the team to reach the final,” said Razali.
“We have been waiting for the Cup for so long. We have won the Cup five times while China and Indonesia have won it many more times.
“We have Chong Wei, who is unbeaten thus far this year. And he should be a tremendous inspiration to the team. The team also have strong backing from sponsors, especially Proton, the national body, Sports Ministry and the public.
“This is the right time and this is the year. And I hope our team will deliver.”
Chong Wei, who was the champion at the Korean Open, Malaysian Open and All-England this year, vowed to spearhead the team in the right direction.
“We will take up the challenge to reach the final. Of course, everyone wants us to win. We will try,” said Chong Wei.
“We have learnt from past mistakes that we should not put undue pressure on ourselves. The pressure will mount as the Finals draw nearer and we know the home expectations will be sky high.
“We will try to enjoy as we get the work done.
“We are looking forward to the motivation camp (April 23-25 in Port Dickson).
“It is important to instil team unity. Everyone is important in the team and we will support one another.
“This will be crucial in our bid to help Malaysia regain the Thomas Cup.”