Gold bar dream ends for Malaysia's Olympic badminton team and Lee Chong Wei after magnate's promise
The Malaysian mining magnate who offered the country's Olympic badminton team a gold bar worth £400,000 if they could land a first ever gold medal said he was unlikely to roll over the incentive to Rio 2016 after the nation’s darling, Lee Chong Wei, fell short in an epic men’s final on Sunday.
Andrew Kam, a badminton lover and gold producer in Kuala Lumpur, offered the enticement to the team – a 12.5kg gold bar – as Malaysia searched for their first gold medal at the Olympics since they first started competing in 1956.
The national sport of Malaysia has yielded two silvers and two bronzes since then, but Chong Wei was seen as a major hope of delivering gold, despite being hampered by injury since May. He fell agonisingly short in the final, going down in three games to nemesis Lin Dan, of China, in a thriller at Wembley Arena.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Kam said: “I hoped my incentive would encourage him to give him that little bit extra to win it. It wasn’t for the money but the message for gold, the ultimate and not to be mediocre.
“Everyone looks at the Olympics and the World Championships aren’t a yearly event. Players don’t rate it as much as the Olympics, so I don’t think there is a need to imply this kind of incentive again.”
It was the second time that Chong Wei had fallen short against Dan, after his Chinese rival beat the Malaysian in Beijing four years’ ago.
Since then, Chong Wei has held the world No 1 spot for just shy of 200 weeks.