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Friday November 23, 2012

Top seed Chong Wei only has to worry about Kenichi in Macau

KUALA LUMPUR: The Macau Open is not a Super Series event but it has become one of Lee Chong Wei’s favourite stops for various reasons.

In the draw released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF), Chong Wei has been named the men’s singles top seed and is the favourite to win the Grand Prix Gold tournament for the third time in the absence of all the other top players.

The Nov 27-Dec 2 tournament is the only GP Gold event outside of Malaysia that Chong Wei has competed in over the last few years.

His closest rival will be world No. 7 Kenichi Tago of Japan, who is seeded second.

Besides the venue being his favourite hunting ground, Chong Wei also has a large group of supporters in Macau.

The Malaysian won the Macau Open title in 2009 and 2010 but withdrew last year due to fatigue.

Chong Wei, 30, shows no signs of slowing down just yet. After the Macau Open, he will wrap up his season at the World Super Series Finals in Shenzhen, China, from Dec 12-16. The other Malaysians competing in Macau are former international Wong Choong Hann, Loh Wei Sheng, Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub, Zulfadli Zulkifli, Chan Kwong Beng and Goh Soon Huat.

For Kwong Beng, the tournament could well decide his future in the team. Already struggling with poor form, an ankle injury at the Pahang Open last month has made his comeback even tougher.

Said Kwong Beng: “I’m about 80% recovered. There is slight pain but I’m looking forward to doing well in Macau.”

He will have to step up because others from the same batch, like Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng, have done well this year.

Malaysia can bank on five pairs in the men’s doubles. They are Chan Peng Soon-Lim Khim Wah, Chooi Kah Ming-Ow Yao Han, Goh V Shem-Ong Jian Guo and former internationals Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock and Vountus Indra Mawan-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari.

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