KUALA LUMPUR: It looks as though three-time world champion Lin Dan of China has turned his back on a challenge to end the domination of Lee Chong Wei in the Malaysian Open.
There is no official statement yet on his withdrawal from the championships, which begin on Wednesday at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil here. But it is learnt that the Chinese superstar cancelled his hotel booking at the Palace of Golden Horse in Seri Kembangan yesterday.
With the withdrawal of the second seeded Lin Dan, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) may have to conduct a redraw for the men’s singles. Two days ago, Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Simon Santoso also pulled out.
The trio had been drawn in the half of the draw consisting fourth seed Peter-Gade Christensen of Denmark, Thai Boonsak Ponsana and Malaysians Mohd Hafiz Hashim and Wong Choong Hann.
The other half of the draw has top seed and defending champion Chong Wei, China’s Bao Chunlai and Chen Jin, South Korean Park Sung-hwan and Danes Jan O Jorgensen and Joachim Persson.
The absence of Lin Dan, who has yet to win the Malaysian Open, brightens Chong Wei’s chances to win his home Open for a sixth time.
Chong Wei said from Seoul yesterday that the withdrawal of Lin Dan from the Malaysian Open did not come as a surprise.
“Word was abuzz here that he will not make the trip to Bukit Jalil. I don’t know why he’s pulling out but it does not surprise me,” said Chong Wei.
“Whether he is in or out, my goal remains the same – to go all out and try to win the home title again.”