Wednesday March 6, 2013
Chong Wei may compete in US$1mil Axiata Cup after all
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei may take time off his hectic schedule and compete in the US$1mil Axiata Cup, which will be held from March 21-April 14.
Chong Wei had earlier stated that he would not compete in the Axiata Cup, the richest team tournament in the world, to avoid unnecessary injuries.
But Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) general manager Kenny Goh said that with this being the Surdiman Cup year (May 19-26), they will take the Axiata Cup seriously.
“It’s clear that the main target for our shuttlers this year is the Surdiman Cup and the World Championships. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to do well in the Axiata Cup ... we have pride too, as hosts,” said Kenny.
“Chong Wei will definitely skip the first leg in Surabaya, from March 21-24, but he could still play in the return leg (March 29-31) onwards.”
The semi-final and final will also be held in Kuala Lumpur on April 13-14.
“Although Chong Wei’s name is not in the team list, I believe we’re allowed to ring in some changes in the home leg and we’ll also bring in the younger men’s pairs to replace Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong.”
Malaysia have named Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng, Kien Keat-Boon Heong, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, Lim Yin Loo and Tee Jing Yi in the Axiata Cup squad.
The second year of the Cup is also set to see some major changes in the format, with the main one being the inclusion of women’s singles and mixed doubles.
This means that there will be four matches in each tie, compared to just three last year.
Other changes in the format will also see teams awarded a point for each match won in a tie.
This means if Team A beat Team B 3-1, Team A will receive three points while Team B will get one point. As such, it is possible to have a draw too.
The winning team will earn a cool US$400,000 while the runners-up and third-placed teams will take home US$200,000 and US$150,000 respectively.
There are eight teams this year – Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Asia All Stars (non South-East Asian players) and Europe All Stars.
Meanwhile. world No. 8 Simon Santoso, part of last year’s victorious Indonesia Garuda team, believes that this year’s competition will be a lot tougher.
“We want to win and take home the money again, but the competition will be tighter this time and teams like Malaysia and Thailand will really give us a tough challenge,” said Simon.