Lin Dan's revival can only mean trouble for Chong Wei


SEPANG, 15 Mac -- Pemain badminton negara Datuk Lee Chong Wei (kiri) sebaik pulang dari Kejohanan Badminton Seluruh England di Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur, hari ini. Chong Wei tewas mengejut kepada pemain bukan pilihan B.Sai Praneeth dari India pada pusingan pertama kejohanan itu. Turut kelihatan Timbalan Presiden Persatuan Badminton Malaysia Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria (kanan). -- fotoBERNAMA (2016) HAK CIPTA TERPELIHARA

SEPANG: China badminton ace Lin Dan has sounded an early warning to his rivals of intention to go for a record third Olympic gold medal with back-to-back wins at the German Open and All-England.

The world No. 4 has enjoyed a terrific start to the year after a disappointing end to last season, when he lost to Lee Chong Wei in the semi-finals of the China Open and to Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long in the second round of the Hong Kong Open.

His return to form can only mean trouble for Malaysia’s two-time Olympic silver medallist Chong Wei, who is still reeling from the shock first-round defeat to India’s B. Sai Praneeth at the All-England.

With the Rio de Janeiro Olympics still five months away, the 33-year-old Chong Wei, who skipped the ongoing Swiss Open and arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Tuesday, believes he can rise to the occasion.

“Lin Dan definitely played well in his last two tournaments ... winning both the German Open and the All-England. It was different from last year ... when he wasn’t at his best,” said Chong Wei.

“It just goes to show that no one can be consistently in top form to win every tournament ... perhaps, he is peaking too early.

“The Olympics are still five months away and it’s not just Lin Dan, everyone is aiming high ... especially those focused on earning Olympic qualifying points.

“I feel that five months should be enough for me to prepare myself – physically and mentally – for my fourth and last Olympic outing.

“I just need to review my loss at the All-England and focus on my own performance,” added the world No. 2, who will return to training on Wednesday to prepare for his next two tournaments – the India Open (March 29-April 3) and the Malaysian Open (April 5-10).

There’s a possibility that Chong Wei and Lin Dan could cross paths in these two tournaments.

Chong Wei, the top seed for India Open, is slated to meet Lin Dan in the semi-finals. The Malaysian also has fifth seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, eighth seed Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia and South Korea’s Son Wan-ho in his half of the draw.

The 10-time Malaysian Open champion is seeded second for the home meet and could run into Lin Dan – again – in the last four.

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