Wei Feng and Zulfadli: Don’t leave us out of world meet

Malaysian singles shuttler Zulfadli Zulkiffli walks off the court after losing to his Chinese opponent in the Malaysian Open early this month. - Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Be fair to us, please.

Shuttlers Chong Wei Feng and Zulfadli Zulkiffli are hoping that neither of them will be omitted to make way for Lee Chong Wei for the World Championships in Jakarta from Aug 10-16.

Wei Feng and Zulfadli have qualifed for the world meet on merit as they are ranked 31st and 41st in the world.

Former world No. 1 Chong Wei, who has been cleared to play after serving an eight-month ban for doping, is ranked 45th.

A country can have a maximum of three players if all of them are ranked within the top 24. Otherwise, a country can only have a maximum of two if all of them are in the top 150.

Although Wei Feng and Zulfadli deserve to go to the world meet, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) prefer to send Chong Wei instead as the two-time World Championships silver medallists stands a better chance of winning in Jakarta.

Wei Feng feels that he has “worked hard liked everyone else to make the cut as the top (Malaysian) qualifer for the World Championships”.

“I hope BAM will choose me because I’m the highest ranking player ... and I need points to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next year,” said Wei Feng on Saturday.

His cause would not have been helped by his third-round loss to Hsu Jen-hao of Taiwan in the New Zealand Open Grand Prix Gold on Thursday.

But he believes he can bounce back stronger.

“I’m not affected by my hamstring injury anymore. I’m dealing with some confidence issues. I’m trying my best to improve on the defensive part of my game and physical fitness.

“I’ll be very disappointed if I don’t get to go to the world meet,” said Wei Feng, whose next assignment is the Australian Open from May 26-31.

Zulfadli feels the same too.

In fact, the 22-year-old former world junior champion believes he has a stronger case to make his maiden appearance at the world meet.

“My dream has always been to play at the world meet and the Olympics. As an independent player, I have sacrificed so much – my studies, time, money and effort,” said Zulfadli.

“Even my family has done so much so that I can play the game.

“The fact is I have qualified for the world meet on merit.

“I’m a professional player. I’ve never come through the BAM set-up.

“Why should I be sacrificed? If BAM want to resolve this problem, they should do it internally and between their players.

“I’m the first Malaysian to win the Asian and world junior titles and the Youth Commonwealth Games (in 2011). I’ll be the youngest player to don national colours at this year’s world meet.

“I hope that Morten Frost (BAMs technical director) and the team of coaches will support younger players like me.

“They were wise in selecting a younger player (18-year-old Cheam June Wei) for the Sudirman Cup (in Dongguan, China, from May 10-17). I hope they will do the same with me for the world meet.”

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