And victory this Sunday will be a timely gift for Malaysia as we celebrate the 57th Merdeka Day.
A spate of withdrawals and the absence of his nemesis and five-time world champion Lin Dan of China has brighten Chong Wei’s chances to end the drought.
Lin Dan failed to qualify while Indonesia’s Simon Santoso is down with dengue. Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana picked up an injury when he tripped over the steps at his home.
Kenichi Tago of Japan and Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia are also out injured.
On paper, this could not get any better for the world No. 1.
Yesterday, Chong Wei, who is recovering from a thigh injury, remained cautious of his chances.
“Pressure is nothing new to me. I have always carried the burden of the nation on my shoulders for many years,” said Chong Wei, who was runners-up to Lin Dan in London (2011) and Guangzhou (2013).
“I have faced all kind of pressure. It is no different this time.
“It does not matter who is competing or who is not, what is important is for me to stay true in my mission. And that is to realise my childhood dream of winning the world title.
“I have put the injury behind although I have not recovered 100%. I feel good and that is important.”
Today, Chong Wei will start off with a tricky encounter against South Korea’s Lee Dong-keun.
“I have not played against this youngster for some time. I need to be wary of him and hope to get off to a good start,” added Chong Wei, who defeated Dong-keun in the first round of the Denmark Open last year.
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