Lee Chong Wei, who narrowly missed an Olympic gold medal in London, has warned that badminton faces a bleak future in Malaysia unless aspiring future champions are given better training.
The world number two was quoted by The Star daily on Friday as calling on the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to up its game.
“The BAM have to get some things right. The academy needs to have the best coaches, and (junior shuttlers) need to be taught to focus on the tactical side of the game. From what I have seen, we are lacking in these areas,” Lee said.
Lee came within two points of securing Malaysia’s first ever Olympic gold medal in London, but he lost to long-time nemesis Lin Dan of China in a repeat of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
After returning from London, Lee, 29, said he could have another tilt at Olympic glory in 2016 despite having hinted before the contest that he might retire. Badminton players rarely continue at the top level into their 30s.
“The glaring problem in the men’s singles is finding someone to take over from me,” Lee was quoted as saying by The Star.
“As much as I am quite satisfied with the work being done by the coaches in the men’s singles department, it is obvious that changes are needed in the men’s doubles, women’s singles and doubles departments as well,” he added.
BAM officials could not immediately be reached for comments.
BAM is expected to announce new plans next month to overcome the reliance on Lee in the men’s singles and improve in the other categories, The Star reported.
Lee is Malaysia’s most successful Olympian with two silver medals, from Beijing and London, and is the biggest sports star in a country where badminton is hugely popular.
Lee reportedly said earlier this month he would first focus on the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar next year and the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 2014, before making a final decision on whether he will compete in the 2016 Olympics.