KUALA LUMPUR - The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have promised to propel Malaysian badminton to a top-three position in the world by 2020.
For now, that target is good enough for Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin after finally meeting up with BAM president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff and several other top badminton brass on Wednesday to clear the air on where Malaysian badminton is heading.
Khairy had voiced his concern over the lack of talents coming through the ranks and BAM's failure to find capable successors for world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei during the Malaysian Open in January.
For now, Khairy has accepted BAM's lofty goal.
Currently, the countries ahead of Malaysia are China, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Denmark. Thailand - and even India, Germany and Singapore, to some extent.
"The BAM's top brass came to see me yesterday and they displayed a strategic road map. They hope to become the top three badminton nation by the year 2020," said Khairy after the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM)-100Plus awards ceremony on Thursday.
"They have sought my assistance to help develop the sport as they want to partner the schools. I will discuss this with the Education Ministry. BAM are looking at many programmes to broaden their talent base, which I think is pertinent."
Khairy had also queried the coaching set-up which has gone through change after change. After seven months, BAM are now back to their original structure of having one chief coach each for the singles and doubles departments.
Rashid Sidek heads the singles department, while BAM have yet to find a leader for the doubles.
"The BA of Malaysia have put in place a new coaching system. They have also established a new player analysis system in partnership with the National Sports Institute. For now, I am pleased with what they have presented," he said.
On Chong Wei's status in the national team, Khairy has asked BAM to persuade the player to stay on until the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The 31-year-old Chong Wei, who is eyeing his first Asian Games gold in Incheon, South Korea, in September had indicated his desire to quit by the end of the year.
If Chong Wei does quit, and with no quality players to pass the baton to, Malaysia could return home from the Rio Games without any medal.
That is something Khairy is not prepared to accept.