China's Lin Dan may be included in his country's Thomas Cup team as the third singles player if he does well in the China Masters and Asian Badminton Championships, - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Do not be very surprised if five-time world champion Lin Dan shows up as China’s third singles player in the Thomas Cup Finals in New Delhi from May 18-25.
National singles chief coach Rashid Sidek believes that Lin Dan will be playing in the Finals following the China BA’s decision to field the superstar in the China Masters Grand Prix Gold, which begins in Jiangsu on Wednesday, and the Asian Badminton Championships in Gimcheon, South Korea, from April 22-27.
The two championships are the last two main Open tournaments before the Finals and all 16 participating countries have until May 4 to submit their entries by name to the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
According to Rashid, Lin Dan is using the two tournaments as part of his build-up to the Finals after staying out of the world circuit since the World Championships in Guangzhou, China, in August.
At the World Championships, wildcard entrant Lin Dan beat Malaysia’s World No 1 Lee Chong Wei in the final. It was Lin Dan’s first appearance after a year’s absence.
“If Lin Dan is included in the China team for the Finals, he will be very dangerous as the third singles player. He has proven before that the long layoff does not slow him down. We will be able to gauge his form at the two upcoming tournaments,” said Rashid.
Lin Dan, who has been in China’s winning Thomas Cup team since 2004, is now ranked 103rd in the world. The other players from China ahead of him are Chen Long (second), Du Pengyu (seventh), Wang Zhengming (eighth), Tian Houwei (27th), Song Xue (33rd), Gao Huan (41st).
Lin Dan certainly has the advantage over all the other countries’ third ranked player like Malaysia’s Liew Daren, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Takuma Euda of Japan, Indonesia’s Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka and Hwang Jong-soo of South Korea.
Rashid added: “Five Superseries tournaments (Korean Open, Malaysian Open, All-England, Indian Open and Singapore Open) have been completed so far. Except for Chen Long, the other China players have been inconsistent.”
Chong Wei also believes that China will include Lin Dan for the Finals.
“No-one knows what China is up to, but their decision to field Lin Dan in the next two tournaments shows that they are going to field him in Delhi. We will just have to wait and see.”