Any Malaysian who wins a badminton gold medal at the London Olympics will also receive a gold bar.
Andrew Kam, the owner of a gold mine and the Kuala Lumpur Racket Club, has made the offer only to badminton players as he loved the sport.
Malaysia has yet to win a gold medal since it began competing in Olympics in 1956, and its only four medals have all come from badminton: Two silvers and two bronzes.
“I can produce gold, I believe they too can produce gold”
Gold mine owner Andrew Kam
In challenging Malaysia’s six-strong badminton team with the offer of a 12.5 kilogram (27.5 pound) gold bar worth $630,000, Kam said, “I can produce gold, I believe they too can produce gold.”
He said the bar will be shared equally if the badminton players win more than one gold medal.
Malaysia’s best prospect, Beijing Games silver medallist Lee Chong Wei, said he’s held gold bars in his hand before.
“I hope the second time I hold it, it will be mine,” Chong Wei quipped.
Any Malaysian gold medallist in London stands to be well rewarded financially, as the national sports scheme and a furniture company are each offering $315,000 to gold-medal winners.
Olympic Council of Malaysia secretary Sieh Kok Chi didn’t believe the private financial incentives added any more pressure on the Malaysian team.
“Most of them are seasoned campaigners,” he said.
“I believe they will not compete for money but they will do it for the pride of the country. Money is not everything.”