KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttler Chong Wei Feng will brave the pain to redeem his pride at the Indian Open Grand Prix Gold, which begins in Lucknow on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Wei Feng was troubled by a muscle strain on his thigh last week. The national No. 2 eventually lost to independent Mohd Arif Abdul Latif in the men’s singles third round of the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold in Kuching on Friday.
He left for Kuala Lumpur immediately after the defeat to seek treatment at the National Sports Institute (NSI).
Wei Feng said the Indian Open was important to prevent a free-fall in his world ranking.
“Fortunately, I am not carrying a hamstring injury. It was a muscle pull. I am recovering but I have to go to India,” said the world No. 31.
“I may fall out of the top 40 if I don’t go. The Olympic qualifying period starts in May and I don’t want to drop too low in the rankings. It will be hard to catch up.
“I have a favourable draw in India. Hopefully, I will go far and make up for my third-round defeat in Kuching,” he added.
Wei Feng is in the same half of the draw with top seed K. Srikanth. The Indian world No. 4 made heads turn last year, beating two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China en route to winning the China Open title.
The others in the same half as Darren are compatriot Liew Daren, Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold semi-finalist Ajay Jayaram of India and three Malaysian back-up shuttlers Tan Kian Meng, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Goh Soon Huat.
Those in the lower half of the draw with second seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark are third seed P. Kashyap of India, Derek Wong of Singapore, Malaysia’s Chong Yee Han and the three Zulkiffli brothers – Zulfadli, Zulhelmi and Zulfaiz.