Sunday, March 09, 2008

It Doesn't Pay When You Mix Sports and Politics

He should have been training instead of fruitlessly campaigning for his friend...



Badminton and politics meet in Gopeng
Andrew Ong and Kuek Ser Kuang Keng | Feb 27, 08 9:11pm

MCA's Gopeng parliamentary seat candidate Ling Hee Leong today adopted an unusual approach to his campaign in the form of a badminton match featuring the country's top singles player - Lee Chong Wei.

Against the backdrop of a Chinese new village in Simpang Pulai, Hee Leong, son of former MCA head honcho Ling Liong Sik, teamed up with Chong Wei (pix, right) for a doubles match against two Simpang Pulai Badminton Association representatives.

Needless to say, the Hee Leong-Chong Wei combo won. The duo scored 21-12 in the one-set game.

Despite having a former world champion by his side, most spectators agreed that Hee Leong, a keen badminton player, held his own during the match.

"Campaigning can be tiring. We need to find time now and then to play some sports," an exhausted Hee Leong, 39, told reporters later.

Parents Liong Sik and Ena were also at hand to cheer on their eldest of two sons.

Hee Leong said the Simpang Pulai Chinese folk were avid badminton fans and had invited Chong Wei over for a friendly match.

As it turns out, Chong Wei and Hee Leong were actually good friends who played badminton occasionally.

Good friends

Chong Wei, who will be leaving for the All-England tournament tomorrow, added that he had struggled to juggle his busy schedule in order to support Hee Leong’s maiden election campaign.

"I'm a national badminton player. I serve the country and BN is also the government," said Chong Wei, when asked to justify his presence for Hee Leong's campaign.

Clad in a Sedia Gempur BN t-shirt, Chong Wei,described Hee Leong as a good leader who is ever willing to help others.

He was however coy when quizzed by reporters on Hee Leong's badminton skills. "He did okay," said Chong Wei, who is also MCA's badminton ambassador.

Simpang Pulai folk were thrilled by the VIPs appearance in the village and also mobbed Chong Wei for photographs.

Following the badminton match, Hee Leong now hopes to 'smash' his political opponent - PKR's Lee Boon Chye.

In 2004, Lee was defeated by Liong Sik's close ally Dr Ting Chew Peh by a 14,260 majority. Gopeng is a Chinese-majority (48.2%) seat south of Ipoh. Malays make up 41.5% and Indians 8.9%.

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