JAN 21 — They rallied the crowd to cheer them on during the match and rightfully gave badminton enthusiasts something to cheer about.

Goh V Shem and Lim Khim Wah defeated China pair Chai Biao-Hong Wei 21-19, 21-18 in the men’s doubles final at the Malaysia Open over the weekend. Both pairs provided a breath of fresh air for their character and eagerness to outdo each other proved badminton was alive at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Goh and Lim made up for the disappointing outing provided by top national doubles pair Koo Kean Keat-Tan Boon Heong who were smashed out in the first round of the competition last week.

World No.1 Lee Chong Wei, meanwhile, was reduced to tears as he fell on his knees and thanked the Almighty after netting his 10th Malaysia Open title. He edged Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto 21-19, 21-9 in the men’s single final.

Two contrasting tales — one of an upcoming pair who, hopefully, have plenty more to offer while the other is about an aging hero who has hinted of hanging his racquet for good come year end — that provided a happy ending.

One cannot blame Chong Wei for wanting out as he had been the sole champion of the national badminton cause for many years.

A picture of Chong Wei with his wife, former international Wong Mew Choo, and their son Kingston proved fatherhood had kicked in and he would naturally want to spend more time with his family now more than ever.

V Shem and Khim Wah have given fans and sportswriters a glimmer of hope that badminton would continue to hog the back pages of the dailies even after Chong Wei retires.

They have also provided badminton administrators a lifeline for the officials appear to hog the limelight for the wrong reasons.

From the supposed changes implemented by the office bearers to the series of resignations within the BA of Malaysia — with the latest being an “email” from general manager Kenny Goh wanting out only to insist he is back in the fold yesterday — these officials ought to realise they have plenty more to contribute to the national badminton scene rather than just juicy controversies.

Perhaps the officials should forget about petty issues and look at the development of the sport at the grassroots and their respective states first before implementing grand plans and setting up numerous committees.

The players ought to be treated right as the promising and high flying handful guarantee adequate marketing for the sport and potential sponsorship for themselves and the national stable.

More importantly, Malaysian badminton is not just about the officials and the issues that occurred outside the courts. It is about the shuttlers.

Chong Wei, V Shem and Khim Wah have proved the sport has plenty to offer.

In all fairness, we had several players who made the country proud in the past decade or so.

Men’s singles player Hafiz Hashim captured the prestigious All England title in 2003.

Keat-Tan Boon Heong, once rated as among the best in the world, was even the pride of a particular political party when they were paraded in Ijok, just before the 2007 by-election, after winning the All-England championship.

Then there’s Zulfadli Zulkifli, the young lad who nailed both the Asian and World junior championships in 2011.

We have champions among us. Enough of the boardroom meeting dramas and assumptions by certain quarters that would only prove to be detrimental to the sport. It needs to stop.

Let’s look forward and progress.

Here’s hoping  V Shem and Khim Wah would not disappoint in time to come. Till then, let’s support them up just like how they rallied the supporters.

Just like those who often chant from the stands, here’s saying “Jia You! Jia You!” (Go! Go! in Mandarin) to Chong Wei, V Shem and Khim Wah and to our young aspirants who would one day make the nation proud.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online.