By LIM SUE GOAN
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
Again, we put our hope on badminton and Datuk Lee Chong Wei this time. Who would be next to win medals for the country in the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?
Why do we have only one Chong Wei? I finally found the answer after watching the men's double semi-finals last Saturday.
Malaysia’s doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong lost to China’s world number one Cai Yun and Fu Heifeng. They were defeated in only 13 minutes in the first set. It is not a shame to lose if they have done their best. However, it is disappointing if they lack concentration and the spirit to fight.
In another men's semi-finals, we saw how Denmark's pair insisted until it defeated the Korean pair in the third set. They competed till the end and it is what we called the spirit of the game.
The achievements made by Chong Wei and Lin Dan did not fall from the sky just like that. In addition to talent, they have been working very hard.
In his autobiography Dare to be a Champion, Chong Wei revealed the efforts he made. He was drafted into the national squad when he was seventeen years old and he woke up at 5am every day to start training. He attended class from 7.30am to 3pm and continued training until 6.30pm. He went to bed at 10pm.
To prepare for the Olympics, he rested only for a day during the Chinese New Year this year. He suffered an ankle injury during the Thomas Cup Group C tie against Denmark in May, but he still kept practising along the rehabilitation process.
Similarly, Lin Dan started training when he was young. He had never disappointed his supporters until the year 2002, when he was defeated in a few games after the Thomas Cup. The setback awakened him. He realised that he could not rely only on his talent. Thus, he began an arduous training.
Chong Wei learned discipline at the national squad and knew that daily training is a must to maintain in good condition. A peaceful state of mind is achieved when actual strength is accumulated. How is a player going to compete with their rivals if his condition is poor?
Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong started to gain fame in the 2006 Doha Asian Games after they won the men's double gold medal. In 2007, they won the Malaysian National Badminton Championships, Swiss Open Super Series, Yonex All England Super Series and other games. However, they fell to a low point and failed to learn from their failure.
In the men's double semi-finals, they encountered the same problem. They failed to take the advantage when leading ahead to win the game and were easily defeated in the second set. Obviously, their psychological qualities were poor.
The results showed that today's gold medal reflects yesterday's hard work, while today's hard work will be reflected in tomorrow's results. How could a player win respect without discipline and dedication?
Similarly, the transformation plans do not guarantee a thorough change. Every citizen is required to contribute their efforts in achieving the target of high-income economy. A kampung champion will remain as a kampung champion if no effort is made.
The country's strength should be accumulated day by day. How are we going to transform the country into a high-income economy if we do not work hard, improve ourselves and have no sense of crisis?