BUKIT JALIL: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei is excited to pick up some pointers from China’s maestro Tang Hsien-hu at the China League which starts this weekend.
The famed Hsien-hu, also known as The Thing, is the coach of Guangdong Century City Badminton Club which Chong Wei is joining.
Hsien-hu, who coached Indonesia in the late 80s and can converse in Bahasa Indonesia, is also influential to China’s five-time world champion Lin Dan. He is credited with being the man behind Lin Dan’s success at winning the gold medal for the first time at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
Chong Wei, who leaves for China on Friday, said he has crossed paths with Hsien-hu many times during his career but this will be the most exciting encounter.
“I have met and spoken to Hsien-hu many times before but this is the first time that I will be working this closely with him. He will be my team coach during the league and I intend to treasure it,” said Chong Wei after a morning workout at the National Sports Institute (NSI) gymnasium on Thursday.
“He has coached Lin Dan before. He is truly a respected coach in the world of badminton and I hope to learn as much as I can from him.
“I will also be in the same team as seniors Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (four-time world champions). The others in the team are Liu Xin, the China Masters champion (2013), and women’s doubles shuttler Tang Jinhua. The others are juniors and I am excited to be there.”
Besides good prize money, there are other advantages to playing in leagues as long as players know how to fit it in into their schedule.
“As the world No. 1 player, I am sought after. I have played in several leagues now. This is a platform for me to promote the game,” said Chong Wei, who also participated in the Indonesian and Indian leagues this year.
“This is my fourth appearance in the China league. The quality of matches is outstanding and I can see the standard of their juniors too.”
On the situation at home with several changes taking place in the coaching structure, the reigning Japan Open champion hopes that Rashid Sidek will return to the coaching stable soon.
Last week, Rashid quit as the singles coach stating that he could no longer work under Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) Talent Management Group (TMG) director Tan Aik Mong, who had made some changes to the coaching structure.
On Tuesday though Aik Mong quit the programme a day after BAM president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff reverted to the original plan.
Chong Wei hopes that Rashid will return to the fold quickly.
“I was away in Japan when he quit but I am happy that the situation at the national centre is better now. I am the most senior in the team and I will do my best to encourage and motivate the players. I can push myself until 2016 and until then, I will try to help guide others to rise up,” he said.
On other plans, he said: “I have four more Super Series in Denmark, France, Hong Kong and China. I will taper down my schedule in December. I do not plan to compete in any tournaments.”