Wednesday, 6 August 2014 | MYT 9:32 PM
China bump Lin Dan to second singles for Asiad
Lin Dan is set to be China's second singles in the men's team event. - AFP
PETALING JAYA: China are desperate to redeem themselves after a disastrous Thomas Cup campaign.
And they are set to unleash two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan as their second singles in the men’s team event at next month’s Asian Games as they hope to avoid a similar meltdown three months ago in New Delhi.
China supremo Li Yongbo raised eyebrows when he announced a 10-man squad without their second and third ranked singles – Wang Zhengming (world No. 6) and Du Pengyu (world No. 8).
Their omission will pave the way for Lin Dan (world No. 9) to feature in second singles as they seek to win their third consecutive gold in the men’s team event.
World No. 13 Tian Houwei and perhaps the biggest surprise, 24-year-old Gao Huan, ranked 53rd in the world, have been brought in to fill the remaining two spots.
“The decision was to ensure that Lin Dan will play as second singles, as well as giving the youngters an opportunity,” Yongbo was quoted in the local media.
While it may sound shocking, it came as no surprise. Yongbo sees Lin Dan as a sure bet for a point in the second singles.
China were eyeing a record-breaking sixth consecutive Thomas Cup glory but their run was halted in the semi-finals after being humbled 3-0 by eventual champions Japan.
In New Deldi, Chen Long and Pengyu lost their respective first and second singles matches to Kenichi Tago and Kento Momota. Lin Dan, fielded as third singles then, played no role.
The 30-year-old five-time world champion, who returned to action in April after a lapse of eight months, has been in sensational form.
He proved he is still the man to beat following his back-to-back victory at the Australian Open in June and Taiwan Open last month.
Lin Dan also claimed the China Masters and Badminton Asian Championships title, both in April, making it four titles in seven competitions he competed.
In the doubles department, veteran Cai Yun, was brought back to the squad after missing out at the Thomas Cup.
Other members are Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan, Fu Haifeng-Zhang Nan and Xu Chen.