SHUTTLER Lee Chong Wei will keep his international duties to a minimum after finishing his job at the Thomas Cup Finals.
The 35-year-old’s next assignment is the Malaysian Open from June 26-July 1 at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil – and he’s bidding to win it for a 12th time.
The other scheduled tournaments are the Indonesian Open from July 3-8, World Championships in Nanjing, China, from July 30-Aug 5 and the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, from Aug 19-28.
Chong Wei will also compete in the China Open, Yonex French Open, Denmark Open and Hong Kong Open after the Asian Games.
He has won the Indonesian Open six times but has yet to conquer the world meet and Asiad.
National coach Hendrawan said: “Now that his duty is over at the Thomas Cup Finals, Chong Wei’s next big goal is the Asian Games. He has selected three tournaments before that.”
At the Thomas Cup Finals, Chong Wei showed he had not lost his touch when he won all his matches in ties against Russia and Denmark (Group D), and Indonesia (quarter-finals).
“Winning against Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) is a big boost for Chong Wei. He’s still fired up,” said Hendrawan.
The Malaysian has played Axelsen 12 times before the Thomas Cup Finals and lost all their three recent meetings.
While Chong Wei has a specific target to achieve this year, he hopes all the juniors will continue to step up as he’s looking forward to see them improving their world rankings so that they can compete in more Open tournaments.
“Juniors like Lee Zii Jia and Leong Jun Hao were given a chance at the Thomas Cup Finals and they did well,” said Chong Wei.
Zii Jia delivered a point against Denmark while Asian junior champion Jun Hao kept his nerves in winning a point against Algeria.
“I hope they will step up and compete in other big Open tournaments. We need to have more representatives,” added world No. 7 Chong Wei.
The other Malaysians are not even in the world top 20. Those in the top 200 are Liew Daren (35), Zii Jia (45), Chong Wei Feng (46), Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin (50), Soong Joo Ven (60), Cheam June Wei (70), Leong Jun Hao (94), Goh Giap Chin (116), Lim Chi Wing (118), Chong Yee Han (131), Tan Jia Wei (156) and Soo Teck Zhi (185).