Li Yongbo in a file photo. Razif Sidek has praised him as a master tactician for bringing Lin Dan back just before the major tournaments.
KUALA LUMPUR: Former badminton doubles great Razif Sidek praised China’s badminton chief coach Li Yongbo for bringing back five-time world champion Lin Dan just in time.
On Sunday, the 31-year-old Lin Dan nailed the Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) in Gimcheon, South Korea. A week earlier, he won the China Masters Grand Prix Gold title in Changzhou, China.
The back-to-back tournaments were Lin Dan’s first two international stints since winning the world title for the fifth time in Guangzhou in August last year.
At the final, Lin Dan won the world title after his long-time rival Lee Chong Wei retired while trailing 17-20 in the rubber game.
With Lin Dan’s double victories in the past two weeks, Yongbo looks set to include the world No. 83 in the Thomas Cup Finals in New Delhi from May 18-25.
Lin Dan will also most likely win a wildcard for the World Championships in August in Copenhagen and he is looking good to defend his gold at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in September.
Razif said that Yongbo must have put a lot of thought and planning into this strategy.
“He brought Lin Dan out at the right time to strike fear in all their opponents. In the Thomas Cup Finals, Lin Dan is good to play as the third singles but do not be surprised if China field him as the second singles,” said Razif.
“At the 1982 Thomas Cup Finals, I was a doubles player but played as the third singles to deceive our opponents. Yongbo is a master tactician and he is capable of doing anything. He is very smart and that’s why China are doing so well.”
In contrast, Razif, who served as BAM’s assessor for four months, feels that many of Malaysia’s decisions have been inconsistent, including the selection process for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals.
On Monday, Razif, a member of the 1992 Thomas Cup winning team, showed up with his charge Sannatasah Saniru for the Uber Cup selection trial at the Juara Stadium. The selection trial was held after Razif had asked the Sabah Badminton Association to fight for Sannatasah, who was not included in the initial selection.