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Tuesday January 29, 2013

The game’s one big bore without Lin Dan, admits Razif

KUALA LUMPUR: Without the maverick Lin Dan, the world of badminton is one big bore.

Former international Razif Sidek believes so and can’t wait to see the Chinese shuttler get back to the international circuit soon.

The 29-year-old Lin Dan has not taken part in any Open tournaments since defending his men’s singles gold medal at the London Olympic Games in August. The only time the four-time world champion showed his face was at an invitation event – the Copenhagen Masters – in Denmark in December.

“I hope that Lin Dan will return to action soon. The men’s singles event in the last two Opens – in South Korea and Malaysia – was a bore. There were not many interesting matches and Lee Chong Wei was hardly tested by the opponents in both finals,” lamented Razif.

Chong Wei defended both titles in style. At the Korean Open, he outclassed Du Pengyu of China in the final. He then went on to whip Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia to nail the Malaysian Open for a record ninth title.

Razif said there were more quality matches in the women’s singles.

“I enjoyed the women’s singles matches at the Korean and Malaysian Opens. India, Taiwan and Indonesia have new young stars who are able to give quality performances against the Chinese players,” he added.

To illustrate his point, he said China were no longer dominant as was evident with the two new winners at the Korean and Malaysian Opens.

At the Korean Open, Sung Ji-hyun of South Korea was the champion. Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan then stole the show with her first Super Series title at the Malaysian Open.

Razif is keeping his fingers crossed that Lin Dan will make a return to the All-England in Birmingham from March 5-10 to revive the interest and excitement in the men’s singles again.

“We need more depth in the men’s singles. Sometimes, the matches are so one-sided. Hopefully, we will see more men with colourful characters and styles to spice up the competition,” said Razif.

He added that men’s singles was at its height when five players – Chong Wei, Lin Dan, Peter-Gade Christensen of Denmark, Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia and Lee Hyun-il of South Korea – were at the peak of their powers.

The men’s doubles action, however, caught Razif’s eye.

“There are several new pairs now. And they have retained the same level of quality despite the absence of a few old pairs like Olympic champions Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan and Lee Yong-dae-Chung Jae-sung.

“Malaysian Open champions Hendra and his new young partner (Mohd Ahsan) showed that they are a new pair to watch out for. Yong-dae and his new partner (Ko Sung-hyun) won at the Korean Open. And together with several other regulars like Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China and Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen, the fans can still get their money’s worth,” said Razif.

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