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Tuesday March 5, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday April 18, 2013 MYT 1:15:04 AM
by rajes paul
Evergreen: Dark horse Taufik Hidayat is in the same half of the draw with top
seed Lee Chong Wei.
INDONESIA’S Taufik Hidayat and Chen Long of China are the old and new stars of world’s badminton but they have one thing in common – they have never tasted success in the All-England championships.
And the duo are seen as threats to world No. 1 and two-time All-England winner Lee Chong Wei in the men’s singles event when the world’s oldest badminton tournament starts at the National Indoor Arena here tomorrow.
Although Taufik’s form has taken a dip over the years, Malaysia’s national singles coach Tey Seu Bock is not ready to write off the talented Indonesian for one good reason.
The All-England is the only notable silverware that is missing from Taufik’s staggering collection of titles. He has won all the major titles – the Olympics, World Championships and Asian Games.
Taufik, who turns 32 in August, became an instant star when he reached the final of the All-England in 1999 at the age of 18. He made it to the final again in 2000. But on both occasions, victory was beyond him.
Seu Bock said that although Taufik’s movement on court had slowed down, one should never question his steely determination especially this being his last All-England.
“All of us know that the All-England means a lot to him. This could be his best last chance to prove himself here. His attacking skills are still impressive. It’s a folly to rule Taufik out from the title contention - not in the All-England,” added Seu Bock.
On reigning German Open champion Chen Long, Seu Bock said the lanky Chinese would pose the biggest threat to Chong Wei.
In their recent meeting at the Hong Kong Open, Chen Long defeated Chong Wei in convincing fashion.
“Chen Long is young. His confidence is also boosted by his German Open triumph. Chen Long’s movement is much faster and that is the key advantage for him against Chong Wei,” added Seu Bock.
Taufik is in the same half of the draw with top seed Chong Wei. If the Indonesia can rise above himself against players like Sho Sasaki of Japan, Du Pengyu and Gao Huan of China and Hu Yun of Hong Kong, he may meet 30-year-old Chong Wei in the semi-finals.
The 24-year-old Chen Long is in the lower half with a host of talented players – fourth seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro, former world champion Chen Jin of China and Kenichi Tago of Japan. But Chen Long is tipped as the favourite to reach the final.
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