Thursday, 20 March 2014 | MYT 6:23 PM
Chong Wei prefers to have Ramdan for Thomas Cup squad
Lee Chong Wei speaking to the media after receiving a cheque worth RM80,000 from the Badminton Association of Malaysia at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Thursday. — ART CHEN / The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei prefers to have Misbun Ramdan Misbun in the Thomas Cup Finals team.
Ramdan, the reigning Romanian International champion, will take part in the ongoing selection trial at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara on Friday.
Three others – Goh Soon Huat, Tan Chun Seang and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif – showed up on the first day of the selection trial on Wednesday but Arif pulled out after losing to Soon Huat.
Former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkiffli, who did not show up on Wednesday, will also attend the trial on Friday.
It will now be a four-cornered fight among Chun Seang, Soon Huat, Ramdan and Zulfadli for the one slot available in the men’s singles.
Three-time All-England champion Chong Wei and two others – Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren – have confirmed the other three spots.
“Based on consistent performances, my pick is Ramdan. Besides, Ramdan is the national number four and I see him as the ideal player to make up the four-member singles team for the Finals,” said Chong Wei.
The Thomas Cup Finals will be held in New Delhi from May 18-25.
Ramdan is now ranked 48th in the world, behind Chong Wei, Wei Feng (No. 14) and Daren (No. 40). Chung Seang is the world No. 50, Zulfadli No. 56 and Soon Huat No. 105.
With just two months left before the prestigious world team event begins, Chong Wei said that he is beginning to have more optimism.
“As the first singles, I aim to deliver in every tie. We also have Wei Feng and Daren. If Ramdan wins the selection, he will join us. I will do my part to build team spirit. Team unity is the key to success in the Finals,” said Chong Wei.
“We also have two pairs (Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem) to fight for the points.
“China may be the favourites but I believe we have a chance against them too. Lin Dan may return to play as the third singles and they will be strong there. China’s doubles, however, have been inconsistent ... honestly, we stand a chance.”
Malaysia last won the Cup in 1992 at Stadium Negara. Two years ago, in Wuhan, they crashed out in the quarter-finals.
Yesterday, Chong Wei and a few other shuttlers were presented with the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) incentive for doing well in international tournaments.
Chong Wei received RM80,000 for winning the Malaysia Open and All-England and finishing as runner-up at the Korea Open while men’s doubles pair Khim Wah-V Shem took home RM25,000 for winning the Malaysia Open. Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo received RM28,000 for nailing the women’s doubles gold medal at last year’s SEA Games in Myanmar.