# World No 1 Lee Chong Wei not defending his title
# Last year’s runners-up Iskandar kayoed by back injury
# Malaysia’s top men’s and mixed doubles pair also not in Sibu
By Rizal Abdullah
Defending champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei and last year’s runners-up Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin – Malaysia’s top two men’s singles players – will not be in Sibu for the Victor Far East Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold.
Chong Wei, the world No 1 is staying away from the tournament as he is cutting down on international tournaments this year to focus on the World Championships which will be held in Glasgow in August.
Iskandar was forced to withdraw from the tournament which begins at the Sibu Indoor Stadium on Tuesday because of a muscle tear on his back.
There were more injury woes for the Malaysian shuttlers when world No 1 and Malaysia’s No 1 men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong also cried off when Wee Kiong picked up a shoulder injury while playing in the Indian League.
It does not stop at that. Also skipping the tournament in Sibu is Malaysia’s No 1 mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying because of Liu Ying suffered a recurrence knee injury.
Putting the injuries aside Malaysia’s rising men’s doubles pair Teo Ee Yi-Ong Yew Sin made a premature return from Sibu following a death in Yew Sin’s family. The Thomas Cuppers are ranked No 2 in Malaysia.
Tee Jing Yi is also not competing in the Malaysia Masters as she has switched to the women’s doubles. However, with no partner yet for her in the doubles the Penangite is absent in the first tournament of the year.
Former world junior champion Goh Jin Wei and current national champion will be in the fray. India’s Saina Nehwal is the top seed in the women’s singles.