KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Japan has honoured the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) for contributing to the development and success of Japanese players in the international arena.
Japan’s Ambassador to Malaysia Oka Hiroshi today presented the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendations for the Year 2020 to BAM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria.
Hiroshi said BAM’s success stories were well known and that prompted the Japanese camp to train under talented Malaysian coaches Jeremy Gan (mixed doubles), Tan Kim Her (men’s doubles) and Lee Wan Wah (mixed doubles) for many years.
“These Malaysian coaches have contributed greatly to the overall performance of Japanese badminton players in the international arena, for which we are immensely indebted.
“Here, I must mention the great loss of former BAM junior coach Izuan Ibrahim, who sadly passed away in December 2019, with deep condolences. As an admirable youth coach and former player, he truly inspired so many talented young shuttlers. Kento Momota is one of them,” he said in his speech at the presentation ceremony here.
The award was conferred every year by the Japanese Foreign Minister on individuals and groups that have made outstanding contributions to the deepening of friendship with Japan.
Hiroshi pointed out that Mohamad Norza and Ehime prefecture governor Tokohiro Nakamura had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2018 to promote further exchanges through badminton.
He said three training camps involving players from both countries were held in Ehime between 2018 and 2019 as part of preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.
Hiroshi also took the opportunity to congratulate Malaysia’s Lee Zia Jia, saying he had scored a stunning victory over Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the All England men’s singles final on Sunday.
Incidentally, Japan swept the remaining four titles at the All England – men’s doubles (Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe), women’s doubles (Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara), women’s singles (Nozomi Okuhara) and mixed doubles (Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino).
Meanwhile, Mohamad Norza said the award was a big recognition for BAM and Malaysian badminton.
“Our players like Datuk Misbun Sidek are well known at the school in Ehime; they acknowledge our catalytic role in the success of Japanese players,” said Mohamad Norza, who is also Olympic Council of Malaysia president.