Selangor Journal
Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei celebrates his victory during the awards ceremony after the men’s singles final against Hong Kong’s Hu Yun at the Japan Open badminton tournament in Tokyo, Japan, on June 15, 2014. — File Picture AFP

Shocked Chong Wei reveals bookies aproached him too

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — National badminton legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei is shocked to find his name being linked to a match-fixing incident at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

He said he had no idea about the incident until his good friend, Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia revealed the matter during an interview recently.

“All this while I never knew about it, Taufik also did not tell me about it. I called him on Monday (August 23) after the matter went viral (and) as a friend, he told me who the individual was (who tried to fix the 2006 Doha Asian Games semi-final match between him and Taufik),” he said when contacted by Bernama yesterday.

Earlier, the matter went viral on August 23 after several Indonesian and local portals reported the 2004 Athen Olympic champion’s revelation, with Taufik claiming that he was approached by a Malaysian team official to throw the match.

However, the Indonesian legend said he rejected the offer, which was double the RM60,000 that was promised by the Indonesian government to win the competition. Taufik went on to beat Chong Wei before taming China’s Lin Dan in the final to emerge champion.

The 38-year-old Chong Wei, who hails from Penang, said that since the incident occurred 15 years ago, they’ve decided to move forward and won’t name the individual involved.

He added that Taufik’s recent statement was to expose the matter to young shuttlers so that they would not be involved in such heinous acts.

Chong Wei, however, admitted that he wasn’t surprised by the incident as he too had once been approached by bookies to fix matches, which he immediately rejected in order to protect the dignity of the country and the integrity of his favourite sport.

“During my playing days, of course, I meet a lot of people. I tell them I have never done such a thing because I value my services to the country. If you ‘sell’ a match, it feels the same as if you are selling your country,” he said.

Chong Wei, who advised young shuttlers to never get involved in match-fixing as it could affect their future and their careers, also welcomed efforts by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to nab the perpetrators.

“I would like to advise all athletes to never do such a thing. Perhaps someone may offer you a lot of money… surely young athletes may be deceived by money and think that their chance of winning a match is not guaranteed.

“But, for me, career is more important. When you are building a career and become a champion, automatically you will be flooded with sponsorships, (product) endorsements but, more importantly, you must protect the country’s image.

“I still remember that, when I was a young player, (former coach) Datuk Misbun Sidek used to tell me ‘you give me your energy, fortune will come looking for you’.

“Although I come from a poor family, I never thought about money. No matter how difficult life was, I always fought to get the best results,” he said.

— Bernama

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