KUALA LUMPUR: China’s five-time world badminton champion Lin Dan will be out to win his first-ever Maybank Malaysian Open Superseries from March 31-April 5.
And this time, the superstar from China will not have local hero and 10-time Malaysian Open champion Lee Chong Wei standing in his path.
Chong Wei is still serving a suspension for failing a doping test at the World Championships in Copenhagen last August.
Lin Dan has never won the Malaysian Open. It is the only Premier Superseries title missing from his amazing collection of titles.
In fact, Lin Dan doesn’t have fond memories of Malaysia, especially since the two-time Olympic Games champion’s most painful defeat of his career was inflicted by Chong Wei at the 2006 Proton Malaysian Open final in Kuching.
Then, Lin Dan was on the verge of victory – leading 20-13 in the decider – but Chong Wei staged an amazing turnaround to beat his nemesis 21-18, 18-21, 23-21.
Based on the entry list for the Malaysian Open, as published by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Feb 18, Lin Dan is one of the many stars who will be making their way here.
The other top men’s singles players are reigning world champion Chen Long, Tian Houwei and Wang of China; Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen, Viktor Axelsen; South Korea’s Shon Wan-ho, Lee Dong-keun, Lee Hyun-il; India’s K. Srikanth and P. Kashyap; Japan’s Kenichi Tago, Kento Momota; and Indonesians Tommy Sugiarto, Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka.
In Chong Wei’s absence, Malaysia will be banking on Chong Wei Feng, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Liew Daren. Sadly, they will all have to start from the qualifying tournament.
If none of them make it to the main draw, it will be the first time in the history of the tournament that Malaysia will not be represented in the men’s singles.
In men’s doubles, Malaysia’s hopes will be on Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem, who are the only pair in the main draw.
The others, like Chooi Kah Ming-Teo Kok Siang, Jagdish Singh-Roni Tan Wee Long, Lee Jian Yi-Lim Zhen Ting, Nelson Heg Wei Keat-Chua Khek Wei and Zulhelmi Zulkiffli-Zulfaiz Zulkiffli, will have to feature in the qualifying tournament.