KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 2 Lee Chong Wei will be up against shuttlers from China at the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland from Aug 21-27.
But fret not.
The reigning All-England champion will have national men’s singles head coach Datuk Misbun Sidek in his corner as he seeks to become the country’s first world champion.
Misbun will be assisted by former world champion Hendrawan in Glasgow.
The 34-year-old Chong Wei and independent shuttler Zulfadli Zulkiffli are the two Malaysian men’s singles representatives at the world meet.
China will have four players in Glasgow – five-time world champion Lin Dan, two-time world champion Chen Long, French Open champion Shi Yuqi and China Masters winner Tian Houwei.
Depending on the draw, three-time World Championships silver medallist Chong Wei could have three of China’s players in his half.
Then, there are those from Indonesia, India, Taiwan, South Korea and Denmark who have improved by leaps and bounds.
“It’s not easy to fight against the four players from China and those from the rest of the world. Each one will pose a different challenge,” said Chong Wei after a training session at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara yesterday.
“It’s tougher than the Olympics. In the Olympics, each country can field two players only.
“So, having two coaches – Misbun and Hendrawan – in Glasgow will be a great help for me.
“This is probably my last chance to challenge for the world title. So, definitely, there’s pressure.
“I skipped the Australian Open to focus on the world meet. I didn’t do well at the Indonesian Open, but I’m fresher after the break. I’ll focus fully on my preparation for the world meet from this week onwards.”
Chong Wei lost to India’s H.S. Prannoy in the second round of the Indonesian Open last month. He also lost to Lin Dan twice – in the final of the Malaysian Open in Kuching in April and the Asian Badminton Championships in China in May.
Chong Wei is also hoping that Misbun and the three other singles coaches – Hendrawan, Indra Widjaya and Sairul Amar Ayob – can help elevate the standard of men’s singles in the national team.
“I’m glad Misbun is back to help me and the other youngsters in the team. We’ll work together,” said Chong Wei.
“There are 13 men’s singles players and we all have different styles, characters and attitudes. Misbun has seen them play in the local circuits and will know how to manage them.
The other men’s singles shuttlers are Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Soong Joo Ven, Lee Zii Jia, R. Satheishtharan, Lim Chi Wing, Tan Jia Wei, Cheam June Wei, Soo Teck Zhi, Chong Yee Han, Yeoh Seng Zoe, Leong Jun Hao and Sim Fong Hau.