Tuesday February 26, 2013
Leaner Wei Feng will be meaner on court
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: He’s only 1.70cm tall and weighs 62kg – hardly the kind of stature to strike fear in others.
But all that could very well change in the All-England badminton championships next month.
For he has bulked up and ready to muscle his way to a better showing at the All-England in Birmingham from March 5-10.
Wei Feng is one of three shuttlers who will start from the main draw. The others being top seed Lee Chong Wei and Liew Daren.
Two other singles players – Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and Tan Chun Seang – will begin their campaign from the qualifying tournament.
Over the last one month, Wei Feng has been hitting the gym and impressing the physical trainers.
“My weight has increased by two kilogrammes but they are not all fat.
“I have built some muscles,” said Wei Feng.
“The extra work in the gym is bearing fruit ... but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Physical fitness alone does not guarantee good results, although it helps me play with more confidence.
“At 65kg, Chong Wei plays at great speed and his explosive movements often stun his opponents. I aspire to be like that.”
With his new-found physique and confidence, Wei Feng is hoping for a flying start in the All-England when he takes on world No. 10 Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark in the first round.
“I came through the qualifying round last year and lost to China’s Lin Dan in the second round. This year, I’ll start my campaign from the main draw. Hopefully, I can go beyond the second round,” said Wei Feng.
Last year, he was ranked 118th in the world but now he is in 17th spot. “I’ve not played against Jorgensen before but I know that he’s a good player and it will take great strength to subdue him. I’m better prepared and, hopefully, will be able to clear the opening round. I’m looking at a quarter-final finish.”
If he gets through Jorgensen, he may play against the winner of the match between Vladimir Ivanov of Russia and Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia. Neither is a pushover.
The others in the same quarter with Wei Feng are team-mate Daren, China’s Chen Jin and Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus. Daren has an equally challenging path as he faces Chen Jin in the first round.
All of them are in the lower half with second seed Chen Long, who is gunning for his first All-England title.
Two-time All-England champion Chong Wei is in the top half and the others lumped with him are three youngsters from China – Wang Zhengming, Du Pengyu and Gao Huan.
The others are Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam and Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia.
In last year’s final, Chong Wei failed to pull off a hat-trick when he withdrew with a shoulder injury against Lin Dan.