Monday January 7, 2013
Challenging task awaits Chong Wei in Seoul
KUALA LUMPUR: It will be one of the most challenging starts for world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei when the defending men’s singles champion opens his campaign in the Korean Open Super Series Premier in Seoul on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old will have to deal with the emerging forces from China but national coach Tey Seu Bock believes his charge is up to the task.
Two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan is not competing but China will be banking on Chen Long, Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming to spoil the party for Chong Wei. Based on past encounters, all three are capable of giving Chong Wei a run for his money.
China have also fielded former world champion Chen Jin in the season opener but he is not seen as a major threat.
“It will not be easy. Chong Wei will be 31 this year (in October) while the younger players from China are performing better in every tournament. They will be out to push Chong Wei to the limit,” said Seu Bock.
“But Chong Wei is an extremely determined person and we are banking on his experience to pull through. Everyone is hoping for a good start to the year. Hopefully, Chong Wei will show that he is ready for a roaring start to the season”
Chong Wei, who is playing in his first tournament since injuring his thigh during last month’s Super Series Masters Finals in Shenzhen, will face Zhengming in the opening round. If all goes according to plan, he may meet Chen Jin in the semi-finals.
Chen Long and Du Pengyu are in the lower half of the draw with Malaysian Liew Daren and one of these Chinese players should make it to the final.
The other Malaysian representative is former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli, who opens his campaign in the qualifying tournament tomorrow.
The Korean Open is the first of the six tournaments lined up for Chong Wei before the major one – the World Championships in Guangzhou in August. The others are the Opens in Malaysia, England, India, Indonesia and Japan.
“This is the start of my third year coaching Chong Wei. In 2011, Chong Wei did not become a world champion. Last year, he was denied the glory of becoming an Olympic champion.
“On both occasions, he lost narrowly to Lin Dan in the final. I hope to see Chong Wei make it this year as the world meet is his main target,” said Seu Bock.