SEPANG- There's still hope for Malaysian badminton after all.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff believes Malaysia have maintained their status as one of the top nations in the sport with the runners-up showing at the Thomas Cup.
At the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday, Malaysia gave a gallant performance before losing 3-2 to Japan in the final.
World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and the second doubles pairing of Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong won their matches for Malaysia.
Japan bagged their points through world No. 3 Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa (first doubles), Kento Momota (second singles) and Takuma Ueda (third singles).
Tengku Mahaleel praised the team for their efforts.
"The results have shown that we are not going backwards in the sport," said Tengku Mahaleel after welcoming the team home at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) yesterday.
"In fact, we have maintained our standards and even improved based on the results.
"Before the tournament I told the players to play with pride and forget about personal interests. And I also told the coaches to work together to collectively improve the team.
"I am pleased with the results. But we cannot be satisfied with what we have achieved now. To be champions one day, we need to have the hunger and drive to want more."
National singles coach Tey Seu Bock was also proud of the team.
"No-one expected us to even make the final and the team spirit throughout the tournament was very good," said Seu Bock.
There was a pleasant surprise for world No. 27 Chong Wei Feng at the airport.
Wei Feng was presented with a birthday cake by BAM officials and supporters. He turned 27 yesterday.
"I didn't expect to be presented with a cake. Now I'm motivated to go out there and continue doing my best for the country in the coming tournaments," said Wei Feng, who lost in the final but won all his earlier five matches.