PUTRAJAYA: The national squad going for the Thomas Cup 2024 in Chengdu, China have been urged to play their respective roles and build team spirit to regain the coveted trophy.

Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh said the spirit of cooperation shown by the squad of 1992 was the key to Malaysia’s success 32 years ago.

“I hope both the men’s and women’s squads (Uber Cup) will play their respective roles in the championship, and the most important thing is teamwork. They have to fight hard because the Thomas Cup is very important for sports fans in the country.

“They have to do their best. Chance or no chance, I just hope that each player will contribute their part, that’s most important. They cannot just think about themselves; that’s the spirit we saw in the 1992 team when they played,“ she said.

She told reporters this when met after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) and the industry on the implementation of Gig Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) at Menara KBS here today.

Malaysia last won the Thomas Cup in 1992 in Kuala Lumpur and since then the closest they came to lifting the trophy was finishing runners-up four times - in 1994 (Jakarta), 1998 (Hong Kong), 2002 (Guangzhou) and 2014 (New Delhi).

For this Thomas Cup, Malaysia will be represented by Lee Zii Jia, Leong Jun Hao, Cheam June Wei and Justin Hoh in singles and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, Nur Izzuddin Rumsani-Goh Sze Fei and Muhammad Haikal Nazri-Choong Hon Jian in doubles.

Malaysia, drawn in Group D, will open their campaign against Hong Kong on Saturday, before taking on Algeria the following day and Denmark on April 30 to wind up their group matches.

Earlier, at the MoU signing ceremony, KBS took a step forward in implementing pilot programmes through collaboration with five strategic partners to empower youths and boost the employability of TVET students and the Gig Economy.

Hannah said at the initial stage, KBS would focus on eight skills areas, namely Sports Technology; Fashion and Automotive Apparel; Hospitality; Automotive; Photography and Information Technology; Cosmetology; as well as Electrical and Mechanical.

The pilot effort is expected to benefit 2,000 students and 3,000 youths nationwide.