Malaysia’s badminton body slams Zolkples for belittling country’s SEA Games victories

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has criticised Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong for making what it calls an irresponsible and unfair statement on the Malaysian badminton team’s success at the recently concluded 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines.

BAM said it was saddened by the former National Sports Council (NSC) director-general’s statement, made in his open letter to Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister, which said the Malaysian players were “lucky” because they won in the absence of top players from Indonesia and Thailand.

“BAM would like to stress that Zolkples’ statement would not help improve the situation and instead would bring down the spirits of the players,” it said in a statement yesterday.

It said as a former BAM honorary secretary, Zolkples should know that the non-participation of leading players from other countries was beyond the control of BAM.

“The gold medals won by our young heroes should not be belittled. He should view it from a more positive perspective, where at a young age these players have enhanced the country’s name.

“They need support and encouragement from all quarters to go further,” said BAM.

Zolkples doubted if the national players could have won in the presence of top players like Anthony Ginting, Jonathan Kristie, Inthanon Ratchanok, Gideon/Sukamulyo and Ahsan/Setiawan.

At the SEA Games, Malaysia won three gold medals through Lee Zii Jia in men’s singles, S Kisona in women’s singles and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik in men’s doubles.

BAM hoped that Zolkples would not make use of the national badminton squad to vent his frustration with certain people.

In his open letter, Zolkples also expressed concern that the contingent might again return empty-handed from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as had happened in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.