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: No new stars stole the show in the Korean Open on a day when two tournament favourites, Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long of China, made it to the men’s singles quarter-finals in contrasting fashions.
Top seed and defending champion Chong Wei stayed hot in a cold Seoul by disposing of Marc Zwiebler of Germany 21-14, 21-18 in the second round but second seed Chen Long dropped a game before making it through.
All England champion Chen Long overcame a sluggish start to beat Takuma Euda of Japan 19-21, 21-9, 21-14.
Today, Chong Wei will face a usual suspect – Du Pengyu of China, while Chen Long has set up a match against Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam.
National singles coach Rashid Sidek said that the season opener has given a sneak preview of what to expect in the men’s singles competition - probably for the rest of the season.