BA of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Mohamad Norza Zakaria (centre) presents the Jalur Gemilang to Thomas Cup captain Datuk Lee Chong Wei during a ceremony in Bukit Kiara. Pic by MOHD KHAIRUL HELMY MOHD DIN

KUALA LUMPUR: As national team captain, Lee Chong Wei, has vowed to give his best for Malaysia, in what would be his last Thomas Cup, next week in Bangkok, Thailand.

The coveted men's team crown, is one of the sport’s most prestigious and sought after titles that have eluded the 36-year-old shuttler throughout his illustrious career.

When met at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) today (Tuesday) — following the final day of centralised training — Chong Wei exclaimed: "This is it, we have to go there (Bangkok) and do our best. As our president, Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria has already mentioned, anything is possible.

"The team this year consist mainly of younger players, and as one of the seniors apart from Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong, we have to be ready for the challenge.

"This is probably my last Thomas Cup appearance, and I want to see the younger players stepping up and rising to the occasion.

"This year has been packed with team events. We played in the Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast) and now the Thomas Cup. I also see it as a good preparation for us leading up to the Asian Games come August."

Malaysia -- who last won the title on home soil back in 1992 -- are drawn in Group D, alongside defending champions Denmark, Russia and Algeria.

Meanwhile, Chong Wei admitted that as a veteran shuttler, he welcomes the new 11 point scoring system, which will most likely be announced by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) this week, after the world governing body's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Bangkok.

Other new changes to the game include a reduction in on-court coaching (introducing time-outs for players) and the service-law change with a fixed height for serves to improve the quality and consistency of serving judging.

"As a senior shuttler, some say veteran, I think the new scoring system would benefit us. Playing long matches against some of the up and coming younger players is not easy, so I welcome this move.

"On the bit to reduce on-court coaching, I can't comment much, as I am a senior player. I cannot be depending too much on the coaches as well. Either way, let's wait and see what the BWF announces," added Chong Wei.

Both the Thomas and Uber Cup squads, will leave for Bangkok on Thursday. The men's team will open their campaign against Russia on Monday, while the women's team are in for a tricky opener against Indonesia, the same day.

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