KUALA LUMPUR: National men single’s shuttler Lee Chong Wei has gotten his wish.
The Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist will have a handful of back-up players as company in the Macau Open, which begins tomorrow.
Two weeks ago, he was unhappy when he became the sole Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) representative at the Japan Open in Tokyo.
He had called on the BAM to emulate the other top badminton playing nations by sending back-up players for international meets.
This time, he will be supported by nine back-up players €” Tan Chun Seang, Chong Wei Feng, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, Kuan Kam Chung, Liew Daren, Lok Chong Chieh, Zainuddin Iskandar Zulkarnain, Beryno Wong and Chan Kwong Beng.
The other season campaigners in the fray are Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Kuan Beng Hong, Wong Choong Hann and Pei Wei Chung.
It will, however, not be easy for the back-up players to make much headway in the Macau Open, which is the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Grand Prix gold tournament.
This Open tournament is rated one rung lower than the Super Series by the BWF.
Wei Feng, Zainuddin, Chun Seang, Arif, Chong Chieh and Kam Chung are in the same half with top seed Chong Wei, Indonesian Simon Santoso and China’s Chen jin, Chen Hong.
Beryno, Kwong Beng, Hafiz and Choong Hann are in the lower half of the draw with second seed Bao Chunlai of China and Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia.
Except for Wei Feng, who defeated Chen Jin at the India Open in April this year, no other back-up players have beaten the higher ranked shuttlers.
Chong Wei will be out to win the title to strengthen his position as the world’s number one player and his first real challenge will most likely be Thailand’s rising star Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in the third round.
Hafiz, who is looking for better fortunes since returning to the BAM fold, is in the same quarter with Taufik while, Choong Hann, who has retired as the BAM’s player, is in the same quarter with Bao.
Besides the men’s singles, Malaysia should win three other titles based on the seedings.
Malaysia are also the top seeds in the women’s singles (Wong Mew Choo), men’s doubles (Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong) and mixed doubles ( Fong Chew Yen-Mooi Hing Yau).