Chong Wei Feng is the second seed at the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold in Johor which starts on Wednesday. - Filepic
PASIR GUDANG: Shuttler Chong Wei Feng’s reputation as Malaysia’s second best men’s singles player is at stake in the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold starting here on Wednesday.
In the absence of the ever-dependable world No. 1 and three-time All-England champion Lee Chong Wei, much is expected from second seed Wei Feng.
And the 26-year-old Wei Feng said that he aims to seize the moment by reaching at least the final of the championship where China are banking on their future stars to steal the show.
Wei Feng, yet to reach a final of any Open tournament, has been drawn in the lower half of the draw with 2010 Asian junior champion Huang Yuxiang of China, defending champion Alamsyah Yunus of Indonesia, Japanese youngster Kazumasa Sakai and a host of upcoming Indian shuttlers - R.M.V. Gurusaidatt, Sourabh Varma, Chetan Anand and Anup Sridhar.
Kai Guo and Song Xue, China’s two rising stars, are in the top half with top seed Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand, Simon Santoso of Indonesia and Malaysia’s former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli and Soo Teck Zhi, the former Asian junior champion.
Wei Feng will take on Taiwan’s Hsuan Yi-hsueh in the first round on Wednesday. At the back of his mind, he is still bothered by his debacle at the Myanmar SEA Games in December last year when he fell flat from the weight of expectations on him.
“At the SEA Games, I caved in (losing to A. Suppanyu of Thailand in the first round). It was an unforgettable experience. I have learnt my lesson. I hope to be more focused this time,” said the world No. 14.
“There are several players from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia who are from my batch and there are several juniors from different countries trying to make their mark. I am not a junior any longer and it is time for me to step up,” added Wei Feng.
Wei Feng did well to overcome his jinx in the local circuit when he nailed the national title for the first time last year in Chong Wei’s absence. And he is keeping his fingers crossed of making another breakthrough, this time on the international stage.
In the men’s doubles, Malaysia will be banking on defending champions Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem, Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and Tan Boon Heong-Ow Yao Han. But they will have to be wary of fifth seeds Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen of China, French Open champions Markis Kido-Gidoen Markus Fernaldi of Indonesia and their compatriots Fran Kurniawan-Bona Septano.
For the record, Malaysia only won one title last year through Khim Wah-V Shem. Goh Soon Huat failed to make it a grand double when he lost in the men’s singles final.