Sunday, May 11, 2008

Shuttlers lifted by Dr M’s visit

JAKARTA: A surprise visit by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former partron Tun Dr Siti Hasmah was a timely boost to the morale of the Thomas-Uber Cup teams, said national number one men singles shuttler Lee Chong Wei at the Sultan Hotel here yesterday.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir and his wife Dr Siti Hasmah, who were here as guests for the convocation of the Pancasila University, took time off from their busy schedule to spend 15 minutes with the players and coaches.

“It was a pleasant visit on the eve of the tournament. Usually, Dr Siti Hasmah will be there to give us advice and this time, our former prime minister also shared with us some words of wisdom. This will further motivate our team to do well,” said Chong Wei.

Besides giving a pep talk, Dr Siti Hasmah, who was the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s former patron, also cracked some jokes.

She told Rexy (Mainaky, the doubles chief coach) that she had given him permission to spank the players if they did not follow his instructions and the crowd burst into laughter.

“I have high regards for Rexy. He is a good coach and has done well for the men’s doubles players. I also told the players to stay focused and fight all the way,” said the soft-spoken Siti Hasmah.

Dr Mahathir said: “It is by chance that we are here but I am happy to be here on the eve of the tournament to inspire the players to bring success to the country.” .the star.