Like almost every national athlete, Malaysian shuttlers are feeling stifled due to being inactive on the competitive front for so long, but Lee Chong Wei has called on them to look at the glass half full.
Apart from a couple of in-house competitions organised by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), the shuttlers have been confined to mostly training sessions and sparring with teammates since March.
As a former player, Lee said he understood their predicament but advised them to practise gratitude in these trying times.
"Times are tough, but we need to count our blessings. National shuttlers, for example, still have a roof over their heads, have food on the table, and more importantly, have steady income.
“I want these athletes to be mindful of so many others who are struggling to make ends meet during these times,” Lee told New Straits Times, adding even his sponsors have cut back almost 50 percent.
"Maybe now is a good time to try something new. Maybe a short course to improve themselves, or if you think you are weak in English, perhaps now is the best time to enroll in a short language course."
As of now, the national shuttlers still have the mixed team championships in November and the National Championships in December to look forward to.
The BAM are trying to introduce a new format for the mixed team championships that will see seven events take place — two men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, mixed doubles and a three-on-three event that will be played over a round-robin format.
On the international front, most of the shuttlers on the World Tour Circuit are gearing up for the Asian leg to be hosted in Bangkok next year.
They are the two Thailand Open tournaments which are Super 1000 events (Jan 12-24), followed by the World Tour Finals 2020 (Jan 27-31).
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) are confident of restarting the international calendar following the success of the Denmark Open earlier this month.
“Thailand has a strong history of organising major badminton tournaments and we trust our hosts to deliver a spectacular month of badminton in January,” said BWF president Poul-Erik Hoyer.