• A long dry spell ahead if Chong Wei retires (pic)

    KUALA LUMPUR: For a decade, world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has feasted Malaysian fans with outstanding badminton results.

    Fans can now expect a dry season for a long time in the men’s singles department if Chong Wei retires because there are neither talents coming through nor an effective programme implemented at the grassroots level. It seems BAM are no closer to finding the successor to Lee Chong Wei who said he may retire from the game after the Asian Games in October, after winning his 10th Malaysian Open badminton championship on Sunday.

    On Sunday, Chong Wei defeated Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia in the men’s singles final of the Maybank Malaysian Open to win his 10th home title - a feat that no others have achieved on the international circuit.

    The two closest consistent winners on the international stage were eight-time All England champion Rudy Hartono and the late Wong Peng Soon, who had also won eight home titles.

  • Finding Chong Wei’s successor is now BAM’s main mission (pic)

    PETALING JAYA: Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff admits that the challenge is for them to produce an heir to world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.

    But the outspoken president points out that BAM will not neglect the likes of Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren while focusing on the younger batch of players coming through the ranks.A group shot of sponsorship ceremony between BAM, represented by its president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff (second right) and XOX, repersented by its managing director, Datuk Eddie Chai (second left), and attended by recently crowned Malaysian Open singles and doubles champions, Lee Chong Wei (centre) and Lim Khim Wah (left)-Goh V Shem in Bukit Kiara on Monday.

    Both Wei Feng and Daren were disappointing at the recent Malaysian Open, crashing out in the first round.

    “It is BAM’s challenge to improve the quality of the backup squad and to produce world beaters in the future. We will definitely be working hard with the coaches to raise that standard,” said Tengku Mahaleel.

  • The king - Lee Chong Wei, rules again (pic)

    CLASSY: Chong Wei remains untouchable on home ground but the ageing player hints of retirement

    LEE Chong Wei proved that he is the king of the (Maybank) Malaysia Open as he accomplished the goal of winning the 10th title and also dropped a strong hint that he is set to retire at the end of this year.Lee Chong Wei kisses his trophy after winning the Maybank Malaysia Open yesterday.

       The pressure had weighed on Chong Wei who had a sluggish start against Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia before winning 21-19, 21-9 in 47 minutes at Putra Stadium yesterday to become the most successful player in the men's singles of the Malaysia Open.

       No player has won the same tournament more than eight times. Wong Peng Soon had won the Malaysia Open (then Malaya Open) eight times while Rudy Hartono and Denmark's Morten Frost Hansen had reached similar numbers in the All England and Denmark Open respectively.

  • Perfect 10 is on for Chong Wei (pic)

    KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei is just one step away from winning his 10th Malaysian Open title but hang on! The man he was least expected to meet – Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto – could spoil his party.

    Chong Wei and Tommy won their semi-final matches in contrasting fashion at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday to set up an intriguing men’s singles final on Sunday.Lee Chong Wei consoles his semi-final opponent from Denmark Jan O Jorgensen after latter retired injured from their match at Putra Stadium on Saturday.

    Chong Wei stepped onto the court bracing for a gigantic fight from Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark. Instead, his opponent gave up halfway due to a muscle strain on his right thigh.

    Chong Wei won 21-13, 3-0 in 27 minutes.

  • Chen exit clears path for Lee Chong Wei (pic)

    KUALA LUMPUR: World number one Lee Chong Wei's march to the Malaysia Open title appeared unstoppable after Chinese archrival Chen Long crashed out in the quarter-finals on Friday.

    Malaysia's Lee, who had no trouble brushing past Chen's eighth-seeded compatriot Du Pengyu 21-9, 21-15, said he is feeling confident after his quick 34-minute win.Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei returns a shot against China's Pengyu Du during their men's single quarter-final match at the Malaysia Open Badminton Superseries in Kuala Lumpur on January 17, 2014.

    Asked about world number two Chen, who defeated him at the Korea Open last week, Lee just smiled and said: "I always try my best to win every tournament I enter.

    "It is no different here, but as I always say, I will take it one match at a time and now I have to focus on my semifinal opponent."

  • Chong Wei's biggest threat Chen Long sent packing (pic)

    BUKIT JALIL: Japan's world No. 5 Kenichi Tago gave Lee Chong Wei a massive favour after turning on the style to stun world No. 2 Chen Long in the quarter-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open.

    Chen Long who won the Korean Open last week by beating Chong Wei, was suffering from fever and was clearly not in his best condition as Tago won 21-18, 9-21, 21-10 on Saturday.Chong Wei's biggest threat Chen Long sent packing

    The Japanese ace will go on to meet Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto in the semi-finals. Tommy was in smashing form as he brushed aside India's K. Srikanth 21-10, 21-15.

  • Momota is the one to watch: Chong Wei (pic)

    BUKIT JALIL: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei took a dig at the Malaysian juniors after reaching the men’s singles semi-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open.

    He told them to emulate Japan’s 20-year-old Kento Momota and show progress in their game.

    On Friday, the 31-year-old Chong Wei showed that he was back in the groove when he made short work of China’s Du Pengyu with a classy 21-9, 21-15 win in just 34 minutes at Putra Stadium. Japanese singles shuttler Kento Momota is the player to watch. World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen were both singing praises of the 20-year-old.

    On Saturday, Chong Wei will take on Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen for a place in final and to keep alive the hope of winning his 10th home title.

  • Tough taking on China players: Chong Wei (pic)

    BUKIT JALIL: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei admitted that he has yet to peak after struggling to overcome China’s Wang Zhengming in the second round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.

    The 31-year-old Chong Wei was given a proper workout by the former world junior champion before prevailing 21-17, 21-18 at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jali on Thursday.Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah celebrate after beating Thailand’s Maneepong Jongjit-Nipitphon Puangpuapech 21-19, 25-23 in the second round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.

    “I didn’t play my best today against Zhengming,” said Chong Wei.

    “It’s tough taking on these China players because there are so many of them and there’s only one of me.

    “But what’s important is that I win the match and continue to focus on my next match.

  • All hope on Chong Wei … again (pic)

    BUKIT JALIL: When all others fell on the wayside, the ever-dependable world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei stayed rock steady to reach the men’s singles second round at the Maybank Malaysian Open at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

    On Wednesday, top seed Chong Wei hardly raised a sweat when he disposed of Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark 21-7, 21-13 in just 35 minutes.Lee Chong Wei is the last Malaysian man standing in the Maybank Malaysian Open men's singles, after both Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren bowed out in the first round.

    Lee Chong Wei is the last Malaysian man standing in the Maybank Malaysian Open men's singles, after both Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren bowed out in the first round.

    He will take on former world junior champion Wang Zhengming of China in the second round on Thursday.

    Chong Wei is once again the sole survivor in the men’s singles after both Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng were sent spinning out of the tournament.

  • Who will succeed Chong Wei? (pic)

    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.Lee Chong Wei might have two more good years in him. But there is still no replacement in sight.

    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.

  • Lee Chong Wei looks to fend off Chen Long in Malaysia Open

    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.

  • Not fair to give Lin Dan a wild card: Joo-bong (pic)

    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. Lin Dan was given a wild card to take part in last year's World Championships, which he went on to win after beating Lee Chong Wei.

    Joo-bong said that the world body’s decision last year proved controversial as many felt that it was unfair.

  • Support our local shuttlers: Chong Wei (pic)

    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.Vittinghus Hans-Kristian of Denmark meets Lee Chong Wei in the opening round of the Malaysian Open on Wednesday.

    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.

  • Imminent change at top (pic)

    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.Chen Long is the player China will depend on to win honours this year.

    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.

  • Jan reckons only Chen can spoil Lee’s party (pic)

    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.Jan O Jorgensen (left) of Denmark feels that only China's Chen Long can dislodge Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei (right) from the world No.1 ranking.

    “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.”

  • Chong Wei: I lost to a better player (pic)

    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.Lee Chong Wei reacts after losing a point to Chen Long of China in the men's singles final of the Korean Open on Sunday. The Malaysian world No.1 lost the match in straight sets.

    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.

  • Lee-Chen rivalry resumes in Korean Open final (pic)

    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.

  • Incentive rethink needed

    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.

  • Lee Chong Wei qualifies for Korean Open finals (pic)

    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.

  • Chong Wei’s ‘sick’ of being the go-to-guy (pic)

    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.

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