Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah has been named the new Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) patron, much to the delight of the national body’s office bearers.
This is because BAM can finally move away from the shadows of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, wife of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who together with her husband are hogging the limelight for the wrong reasons following investigations into SRC International and 1MDB.
BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria said he was elated Wan Azizah had accpeted BAM’s invitation to be its patron.
Insiders say the appointment was necessary as sponsors were shying away from the association due to the Rosmah link.
Twentytwo13 had first reported about BAM’s move to replace Rosmah on June 6, 2018.
It was then believed that Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, wife of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and Dr Wan Azizah, were among the choices. Dr Siti Hasmah served as BAM patron for over two decades before she was replaced by Rosmah in 2007.
Meanwhile, Norza did not rule out the possibility of hiring a local for the coaching director’s post after revealing Rexy Mainaky has been shortlisted for the said position.
Twentytwo13 had on June 1 reported that the former Indonesian shuttler was tipped to make a come back but there were those who were unhappy with the prospect.
Norza said: “We have about one and half years before the Olympics. It’s not easy finding people.
“We are trying our level best to see who we can lure. Rexy is one of those shortlisted but not the final choice.
“With so little time, many are also shying away from taking up the POST.”
“We are also looking at capable locals, not just foreigners,” Norza added.
A former Olympic gold medallist, Rexy started working for BAM in July 2005. He teamed up Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong who took the world by storm by winning the Asian Games gold medal in 2006 before winning the All-England title a year later.
Kien Keat and Boon Heong’s inconsistent performances rattled Rexy’s position and he was later made the women’s doubles coach.
Rexy had threatened to quit several times during his stay in Malaysia. He resigned in 2012 to take up a job with the Philippines BA. He then became the Indonesia BA high performance director a year later.
He was appointed Thailand’s head coach in 2016 and was with the Thai team during the Thomas and Uber Cup in Bangkok this year.