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Tuesday December 11, 2012

Chong Wei’s bigger battle is in his own mind

KUALA LUMPUR: Lee Chong Wei is more worried about his mental state than his opponents as he chases a fourth men’s singles title in the BWF World Super Series Finals.

The Malaysian is the top seed in the Finals, which begin in Shenzhen tomorrow, by virtue of being the world No. 1. Hosts China have two formidable players Chen Long and Du Pengyu in the fray and both are capable of ending Chong Wei’s season on a high.

Chen Long stopped Chong Wei from winning his sixth Open title of the year in the final of last month’s Hong Kong Open and Pengyu gave the Malaysian a run for his money before losing in the final of the Denmark Open in October.

The 30-year-old Chong Wei, whose training programme was interrupted by his grand wedding reception last month, said that he could be his worst enemy in the Finals.

“These players from China will always be a threat but I am not worried about them right now. It all depends on how much I can push myself in this tournament,” said Chong Wei. Fortunately, I am not troubled by any injuries. I am just mentally drained after a long and hectic season,” he added.

Chong Wei, however, is highly motivated.

If he makes it to the final in Shenzhen, it will be his record 10th final appearance in 10 tournaments this year.

“Given a choice, I would not have gone for the Finals. But then, I would have to pay the US$5,000 penalty for skipping it. I will give it my best shot and see how it goes.

“My focus is on defending my titles at next month’s Korean and Malaysian Opens,” said the 30-year-old.

Besides Chong Wei, Chen Long and Du Pengyu, the other men’s singles qualifiers in Shenzhen are Malaysian Liew Daren, Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand, Japanese Kenichi Tago, Dane Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Hong Kong’s Hu Yun. The draw will be done today with the eight players divided into two groups. Chong Wei said he was pleased to see Daren’s name in the Finals.

“Like China, we have two qualifiers. I’m pleased with Daren’s progress this year. He has come a long way and I hope he will keep the momentum going,” said Chong Wei, who frequently spars with Daren.

“Daren’s change in fortunes is due to his determination to break out of the rut he was in.

“His change in attitude saw him winning the French Open title. I hope more juniors will start to show their commitment in training,” added Chong Wei.

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