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.
KUALA LUMPUR: National doubles coach Pang Cheh Chang is optimistic the healthy rivalry between Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem will revive Malaysia’s fortunes this season.
Malaysia have been starved off major Open titles from the men’s doubles department over the last three years.
Thien How-Wee Kiong defeated Khim Wah-V Shem in a closely-fought final in the National Grand Prix Finals at Putrajaya last month, sparking a promise that the country’s second and third-ranked pairs are set to snap at each other’s heels this year.
The two pairs will get to show who are better when they begin their campaigns in the season-opener Korean Open in Seoul on Wednesday.