Chong Wei Feng maybe struggling with his current form but the Kedahan has certainly not given up on earning a place in the national team for this year’s Thomas Cup Finals to be held in Kunshan, China from May 15-22.
He has marked down three tournaments to turnaround his badminton career – the India Open Superseries in New Delhi from March 29 to April, the all important Malaysia Open Superseries Premier in Shah Alam from April 5-10 and the Singapore Open Superseries in Singapore from April 12-17.
The 29-year-old Wei Feng, once No 12, is currently ranked No 45 in the latest Badminton World Federation ranking list and played the second singles for Malaysia in the last edition held in New Delhi in 2014. He was a reserve in the previous edition held in Yunan, China.
Wei Feng played a pivotal role in helping Malaysia reach an unexpected final but could not help the country stop Japan from a sensational 3-2 win to land their first ever Thomas Cup silverware and create badminton history.
Wei Feng’s journey in India will see the Malaysian face India’s B. Sai Praneeth in the first round in the qualifiers and a win will most likely earn him a repeat match against Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto – the man who denied him a place in the All-England main draw.
Praneeth, one of the several rising stars of India, sent shock waves in Birmingham when he ousted Malaysia’s top ranked player and second seed Datuk Lee Chong Wei in the first round with a 24-22, 22-20 win.
“It has been tough on me playing in the qualifiers…where you have to play two matches within hours to make the main draw. This itself is a challenge,” said Wei Feng after training on Wednesday.
“Difficult times for me but I still have the fire in me to go far in my badminton career. I have been part and parcel of the Malaysian team in the last two Thomas Cup Finals. I was only a reserve in China but I played second singles in New Delhi.
“For now I may not be in consideration for this year’s Thomas Cup team but I have not given up. It is now up to me to prove my worth. The India Open, the Malaysia Open and the Singapore Open are my targets to impress,”
Wei Feng has played Praneeth once before and won and this was in the 2013 Singapore Open – registering a 21-11, 17-21, 21-16 win in a three-set thriller.
“In fact I am ready to play Praneeth again…it does not matter if it is in India. Much has been said of his win over Chong Wei but for me it stops at that. I am on my own mission and know that I have to win to stay alive for a place in the main draw.”
National champion Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin is on the crock list and Wei Feng’s performance in the India Open, Malaysia Open and the Singapore Open may just give the national selectors more options in picking their final squad for the Thomas Cup Finals.
Wei Feng will also have to go through the qualifiers in the Malaysia Open at the Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam. He aims to give his Malaysians fans something to cheer.
He plays Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the first round.