Windfall for Malaysia’s Olympic, Paralympic shuttlers who won medals

BAM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria with national men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik at the brief ceremony held at Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) Bukit Kiara, September 9, 2021. — Bernama pic
BAM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria with national men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik at the brief ceremony held at Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) Bukit Kiara, September 9, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — National men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik received a windfall for their bronze medal triumph at the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympics, totalling RM180,000 today.

The Olympics debutants received a reward of RM120,000 from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and another RM60,000 from 100Plus in a brief ceremony held at  Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) Bukit Kiara here.

The men’s doubles coaching department, led by Flandy Limpele, also received RM30,000 from BAM for the success.

BAM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria also announced that, Tokyo Paralympics gold medallist, Cheah Liek Hou, who is under quarantine after returning from Japan on Monday, will be handed a RM200,000 incentive, while his coach Datuk Rashid Sidek will receive RM50,000.

Aaron-Wooi Yik secured the bronze after beating second-seeded Indonesian pair Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan, 17-21, 21-17, 21-14 in the bronze medal decider at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza, on July 31.

Liek Hou on the other hand, emerged as the first ever Paralympics badminton champion as the racquet sport made its debut at the Tokyo Games, by upsetting world number one Dheva Anrimusthi of Indonesia 21-17, 21-15 in the men’s singles SU5 category at the Yoyogi National Stadium on September 4.

“BAM acknowledges the hard work, commitment and sacrifice of the team, these players left it all in the court and were fighting for the pride and glory of our beloved Jalur Gemilang (national flag). Aaron-Wooi Yik are now only the sixth Olympic medal winners in badminton.

“Previously the players had to perform at the age of around 26-27, but now we have an Olympic medallist at the young age of 24. So we are maintaining a younger senior team and at the same time we have established a young elite squad made up of juniors that will compete with the seniors and independent players at same tournament,” said Mohamad Norza.

Meanwhile, Mohamad Norza said the national badminton governing body will be looking into reviewing salaries and bonuses to the players and coaches quarterly, based on their performance and world rankings.

“For instance, I am looking at 100 per cent increase for the salary of the players and the bonuses, if they meet within the bracket of the top 10. For example, if they’re earning RM15,000 now, and if they’re top two in the world, they will soon get RM30,000 in a month.

“But we also need to maintain some status quo of some. Because we just want to make sure our players are all fighting for the top 10 bracket, basically it is also includes their benefits, business class (flight tickets) and all those things,” he explained.

“At this high performance centre (the academy), we embrace a new culture, that we will reward performance and take care of them, including welfare. The young players are showing determination and are inspired by Aaron-Wooi Yik’s success to do better,” he added.

Mohamad Norza also revealed that, in a meeting with players and coaches prior to the Olympics, he had promised them to hand out RM1 million in incentives for each regardless of singles or doubles event, should they clinch the elusive gold. — Bernama

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