Former World No 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei is unseeded but he is Malaysia’s hope in this year’s World Championships in Jakarta from Aug 10-16.
However, the 33-year-old is well prepared to face the challenge in the world meet after being out in the cold for an alleged doping scandal which saw him serve an eight-month ban which was lifted by the Badminton World Federation on May 1 this year.
He had his silver medal at last year’s World Championships in Copenhagen taken away following the doping scandal. Chong Wei lost to China’s Chen Long in the final – which was his third runners-up medal in the world meet.
Putting the seedings aside the Malaysian, however, is tipped to reach at least the semi-finals where his likely opponent is former Olympic and world champion Lin Dan of China.
Chong Wei is somewhat irked by questions on this possibility.
“Why talk about Lin Dan when I have not even played my first match? asks Chong Wei after a training session.
The Malaysian opens his campaign in Jakarta with a match against Lithuania’s Kestutis Navickas in the bottom of the draw released on Tuesday.
“I am fit and totally focused on the world championships. Coach Hendrawan and Morten Frost (BAM technical director) have done their best for me. They are an inspiration to me,” said Chong Wei.
“I will take one match at a time and would not like to say much about my opponents in the draw. It does not matter who will be my opponent but they are all serious contenders.”
After the ban was lifted Chong Wei played for the country in the Sudirman Cup and SEA Games mixed team championships before winning back to back titles – the US Open and the Canada Open. He also competed in the Taiwan Open but lost to Chen Long in the quarter-finals.
“I must admit that the wins in the US Open and the Canada Open were a big boost to my comeback trail. I aim is to qualify for the Olympics. Now that I will be playing in the Super Series it is ‘serious business’ to embark on my Olympic journey,” added Chong Wei.