Rashid eyeing world title as 65th Independence Day gift
PUTRAJAYA, Aug 25 (Bernama) -- Badminton legend Datuk Rashid Sidek is hoping and praying that one of the shuttlers from the National badminton squad can win a title in the BWF World Championships in Tokyo, Japan that can serve as a gift to the entire nation to usher in the 65th Independence Day celebrations.
Rashid, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bronze medallist and member of the glorious Thomas Cup winning squad in 1992 said a number of shuttlers in the squad, namely singles ace Lee Zii Jia is currently the country’s best choice to end the nation’s wait for a title at the World Championships.
“I can see that Zii Jia is in the best physical condition to challenge for the title, especially after watching him win both his matches with relative ease. I hope he can continue the momentum.
“I also hope that all players in the Malaysian squad will be able to rise to the occassion,” he said when met at the launch of the IOI Sports Centre in IOI City Mall, here today.
No Malaysian has won a gold medal in the World Championships but Malaysian shuttlers have won eight silver medals.
Former National singles ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei remains the country’s most successful shuttler in the World Championships, having won silver medals in 2011, 2013 and 2015 while his fourth silver medal won in 2014 was withdrawn for an alleged doping offence.
Apart from Chong Wei, Wong Choong Hann is the other singles player to reach the final in 2003.
Malaysian shuttlers have also won four silver medals from men’s doubles competition, namely Datuk Razif Sidek-Datuk Seri Jailani Sidek (1987), Cheah Soon Kit-Soo Beng Kiang (1993), Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock (1997) and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (2010).
In the ongoing World Championships at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Zii Jia is spearheading the country’s challenge after marching into the third round with Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (men’s doubles), Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (women’s doubles) and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (mixed doubles).
Rashid was also optimistic that the current squad can end the country’s 30 year wait to win the Thomas Cup which was last won in 1992.
Malaysia has won the Thomas Cup in 1949, 1952, 1955, 1967 and 1992.
“The euphoria of winning the Thomas Cup remains fresh in my mind even after so many years...I hope with the current set of players, we can bring back that memories by winning again. We must be physically and mentally prepared to mount a serious challenge,” he said.