BUKIT JALIL: Japan chief coach Park Joo-bong will be the first one to protest if the Badminton World Federation (BWF) were to offer a wild card again to five-time world champion Lin Dan of China for this year’s World Championships.
Last year, Lin Dan was awarded the wild card despite missing international tournaments for almost a year. But the men’s singles maestro showed his prowess by beating Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei for his fifth crown at his homeground – Guangzhou.
Joo-bong said that the world body’s decision last year proved controversial as many felt that it was unfair.
Lin Dan has gone missing again after winning the world title last year and word is abuzz that he will return at the All-England in March.
He is currently ranked 101st in the world and Joo-bong would prefer to see the China superstar work his way up for a spot than waiting for a handout.
“I did not agree with the decision last year but accepted it because it was held at his home. But it is not right to offer Lin Dan a wild card again,” said Joo-bong, who is here for the Malaysian Open.
“I know it is good for the sport if he plays but fairplay is paramount if badminton wants to maintain its status an an Olympic sport.”
This year’s world meet will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August.
Without Lin Dan around, Joo-bong expects the battle for the Malaysian Open crown to be between Chen Long and Chong Wei.
“Chong Wei’s morale was down after losing in the Denmark Open (to Chen Long in the final) and at the French Open (to Kenichi Tago of Japan in the semi-final) but, after taking a short break, he came back stronger to win the BWF World Super Series title last year,” said Joo-bong.
“If Chong Wei can pace himself and not overdo it by competing in too many tournaments, he has a chance of winning the elusive world title this year.”