Malaysia's badminton chiefs are demanding world number one Lee Chong Wei atones for his disappointing World Championships flop and returns home from December's Southeast Asian Games with gold.
|Number one not enough: Malaysia want more from their star man [GALLO/GETTY]
The country's badminton association (BAM) sent only a second-string team to the 2007 Games but has recalibrated its focus for this year's event in Laos and will accept nothing but success from their star player.
"BAM has set a two-gold target and Chong Wei is obviously one of our strong bets to win in Laos," singles head coach Rashid Sidek said on Thursday.
"(He) hasn't been successful in the major events and he can start by winning the regional gold.
"Winning the Sea Games men's singles gold is a reputable success and Chong Wei must not miss the chance."
Lee was beaten by Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro, a twice Sea Games winner, in the quarter-finals of last month's World Championships in Hyderabad.
He will be up against him again in Laos along with other dangermen former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat, Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh and Thai Boonsak Ponsana.
Lee does not shoulder the nation's hopes on his own, however.
Great things are also expected of doubles pairing Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong.
"Winning the World Championships was their target but they can make amends by securing the Sea Games gold," doubles coach Rosman Razak said.
"Their challenge will come from (Olympic champions) Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan who are expected to return to competition soon."