Malaysia’s former World and National No 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei remains out of the top 30 in the latest world rankings issued by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
The top ranked Malaysian at present is Lee Zii Jia who moved seven rungs to be at 28. Zii Jia is hailed as the player who could replace Chong Wei who continues to stay away from competitive badminton as he is still recovering from nasal cancer that has kept him out since July last year.
With the latest ranking list, Zii Jia, who hails from Kedah is the top ranked Malaysian followed by professional shuttler Liew Daren who is a rung below at 29. Chong Wei retains his spot at 31.
Zii Jia has competed in three tournaments this year – the Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters, the Perodua Malaysia Masters and the Daihatsu Indonesia Masters – reaching the quarter-finals in all three.
The only other Malaysian in the top 50 is yet another professional Chong Wei Feng who is ranked 48 – a drop of four places.
In the men’s doubles former World No 1 and Rio Olympics silver medal winners Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong retained their 14th spot while youngsters Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik moved up a rung to 20th.
Professionals Arif Abdul Latif-Nur Azriyn Ayub retained their spot at 33 while another pair Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani slipped three rungs to 46.
Malaysia’s top woman shuttler Goh Jin Wei dropped three spots and is now ranked No 25 while Soniia Cheah remains at 36.
Chong Wei’s last international tournament was the Indonesia Open in Jakarta where he reached the semi-finals before losing to Japan’s current World No 1 Kento Momota.
The Penangite was expected to compete in next month’s All-England but this will not happen as Chong Wei is slowly working on his fitness since he resumed gym training.
Chong Wei is expected to compete in the Malaysia Open in April but it will depend on medical clearance for him to compete in a tournament. RIZAL ABDULLAH