BUKIT JALIL: Does Malaysia have the talent in the men’s singles department to replace world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei?
Based on last year’s results and current form, there are eight potential shuttlers. Sadly, all of them are still under the radar in the international scene.
Six of them are Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) players – Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Goh Soon Huat, Choong Yee Han, Tan Kian Meng, Soong Joo Ven and Soo Teck Zhi – and two independent players – Misbun Ramdan Misbun and Zulfadli Zulkifli.
Except for Joo Ven, Yee Han and Kian Meng, the rest took part in the ongoing Maybank Malaysian Open but none cleared the qualifying tournament at the Putra Stadium on Tuesday.
All of them put up fighting displays but still were not good enough to pull off a breakthrough.
How much longer will it take for them to join the big league?
China are already leaps and bounds ahead of Malaysia. So are countries like Indonesia, South Korea and even Japan, Thailand and India.
Malaysia's top-ranked badminton star Lee Chong Wei is determined to bounce back on home turf this week after a weekend loss in Korea to hard-charging world number two Chen Long of China.
The Malaysian Open kicks off Wednesday with the 31-year-old hometown hero smarting from his loss to Chen on Sunday in the singles final of the Korean Open.
The top two seeds are expected to cruise through their respective halves of the draw in Malaysia and could clash again in the final in Kuala Lumpur.
Lee has dominated world badminton, holding the top ranking nearly uninterrupted since 2008 and winning seven titles last year.
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.
BUKIT JALIL: Let's be real, it will be tough for world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei to win his 10th home title in the Maybank Malaysian Open when the action starts Wednesday with the first round at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
He is getting older. His younger opponents are getting bolder and stronger. And he is starting to feel the burden of responsibility on his tired shoulders.
But the 31-year-old intends to let the magic of playing at home do the talking once again this week.
His nine-month-old baby boy Kingston will be cheering his “papa” on every day from the stands. His devoted wife Wong Mew Choo, family and friends will be there. And thousands of his loyal and patriotic fans will be rooting for him.
NEW ERA: Chen Long set to rule after latest master class
THE Korea Open signalled the changing of the guard at the world stage as it has become evident Lee Chong Wei is powerless to stop China's Chen Long from taking over as the leading men's singles player.
No player, not even China legend Lin Dan, has managed to beat Chong Wei in straight games four times in a row but Chen Long has done exactly that.
Chen Long, in prime physical condition at 25 and armed with sound tactics and skills, will be the player China will depend on to win honours in the main events this year.
BUKIT JALIL: If there is one person to break Lee Chong Wei’s more than five-year reign as the world No. 1 player, it has to be Chen Long of China this year.
That’s the belief of Denmark’s top player Jan O Jorgensen, who is here for the Maybank Malaysian Open starting on Wednesday at Putra Stadium.
“I may be currently ranked third in the world but I do not see myself breaking Chong Wei’s reign in the near future,” said the 26-year-old Jorgensen, who has won only two Super Series titles - the 2010 Denmark Open and last year’s French Open.
“For now, Chong Wei and Chen Long are in a different league all together. They are able to raise the level of badminton to a different level when they face-off.”
“I do not dare put myself in that league to threaten Chong Wei’s reign - just yet. For now, it is Chen Long’s role.”
KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has promised to bounce back stronger at the Malaysian Open after failing to get off to a dream start in the season-opening Korean Open in Seoul.
The 31-year-old shuttler went down 14-21, 15-21 to China’s Chen Long in Sunday’s 56-minute men’s singles final, thus crushing his hopes of winning the Korean Open for the fourth time.
It was Chen Long’s eighth win over Chong Wei in 15 meetings – and his fourth consecutive victory over the Malaysian – in a period of 14 months.
The powerful Chen Long, who is trying to fill in the shoes of five-time world champion Lin Dan, produced an efficient display to give himself an early 25th birthday present.
Chen Long, who turns 25 on Jan 18, accelerated to a 7-0 first-game lead in just six minutes – showcasing his brilliance at the net and superb execution of smashes from the baseline.
KUALA LUMPUR: The year’s first badminton tournament – the Korean Open – is set for a red-hot finale in chilly Seoul.
World No. 1 and top seed Lee Chong Wei and second seed Chen Long of China were in sizzling form en route to overcoming their semi-final opponents on Saturday.
Chong Wei stood solid in the face of Kenichi Tago’s constant battering to prevail 21-17, 21-17 in 51 minutes while the lanky Chen Long packed off Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana 21-15, 21-9 in 41 minutes.
The opener saw Chong Wei losing his focus momentarily before making a comeback to nick it. The second game was nail-biting with both trading blow for blow before the 31-year-old Malaysian claimed his 15th win over the Japanese in 16 meetings.
But Chong Wei had better be wary of the lanky Chen Long, who is shaping up well for their first duel this year.
NO EFFECT: BAM's ranking, match bonuses lead to easily satisfied players
LEE Chong Wei may have won nearly RM1 million in prize money last year but cash, it seems, does not motivate the other national players.
Or it could be that the players are easily satisfied and if that is the case, it has surely got to do with the BA of Malaysia's world ranking and match bonuses.
Chong Wei was the only Malaysian shuttler in the top 50 prize money earners list last year as several other national players have been enjoying BAM's world ranking incentive scheme without even winning an international title for years.
Under the BAM scheme, players ranked in the top 16 in the men's singles and top 12 in the other disciplines are eligible for quarterly bonuses.
The men's singles and doubles can earn up to RM34,000 and RM33,000 respectively every three months for remaining in the top two positions.
KUALA LUMPUR: World badminton number one Lee Chong Wei is one step closer to winning the Korean Open Super Series Badminton Tournament Championship for the fourth time after confirming a slot in the finals on Sunday.
The Malaysian beat fifth-seeded Kenichi Tago from Japan 21-17, 21-17 in a thrilling 51-minute semi-final match at the Olympics 2 Stadium in Seoul on Saturday.
However, he is expected to receive stiff resistance from rival Chen Long of China, who disposed veteran Thai player Boonsak Ponsana 21-15 and 21-9.
KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has had enough of being the sole flag bearer for Malaysian badminton on the international scene.
And on Friday, after reaching the men’s singles’ semi-finals of the Korean Open in Seoul, he issued a clarion call to all his team-mates – especially the younger ones – to wake up and step out of their comfort zone.
The 31-year-old Chong Wei bulldozed past a hapless Du Pengyu of China 21-9, 21-12 in just 35 minutes to set up a meeting with Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the semi-finals on Saturday.
He is the only Malaysian survivor in the season-opener after Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem went down with a whimper against top seeds Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark in the men’s doubles quarter-finals.
The Malaysians lost 10-21, 9-21 in just 31 minutes.
Two-time Olympic Games silver medallist Chong Wei said that it was time everyone stopped depending on him, starting with the Korean Open.