PETALING JAYA: There is a chance for singles shuttler Lim Chong King (pic) to redeem himself when he returns to compete in the Spanish International Challenge from June 16-19.
The 21-year-old is desperate for strong results after failing to impress in his only outing of the year at the Polish Open in March.
The world No. 160 Chong King was shockingly sent packing by unheralded Bulgarian Daniel Nikolov in the opening round.
The uninspiring show was a contrast to how he had started his rookie year with the senior team in 2019 by pulling off his breakthrough victory at the Hellas Open in Greece.
He also came in as the runner-up at the Sydney International Series in Australia and made the semi-finals of the Malaysian International Series.
While he is struggling now, his teammates have done well to improve on their world ranking at a time when the tournaments are limited in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic.
Ng Tze Yong stood out the most as he climbed from the world No. 136 to the 89th position, courtesy of his Polish Open triumph and the last 16 finish in the Spain Masters last month.
This has put Tze Yong in a solid position for a potential call-up for the Thomas Cup Finals in Denmark from Oct 9-17.
As the sixth-ranked member in the men’s singles department, Chong King’s performance in Spain will be crucial to reignite his hopes of featuring in the major events.
The others ahead of him are world No. 9 Lee Zii Jia, Cheam June Wei (No. 67), Leong Jun Hao (No. 120) and Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin (No. 122).
With Zii Jia and June Wei likely to be a shoo-in for the Thomas Cup, the rest will have to tussle it out for the two remaining spots.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) also have the option of calling up experienced Liew Daren (No. 34) and Soong Joo Ven (No. 72) but the national body probably will want to give their younger players the exposure.
As for the SEA Games from Nov 21-Dec 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam, BAM have made it clear that they will be sending a full back-up squad, meaning the likes of newcomers Wyman Goh, Lee Shun Yang, Shaqeem Eiman Shahyar, Jacky Kok and even Justin Hoh will have a shot at making the team.
Aidil, Wyman, Shun Yang and Shaqeem have also been entered for the sixth-tier Spanish International Challenge.