PETALING JAYA: National singles shuttler Lee Tsuen Seng is looking forward to playing the leading role in a team event for the first time.
In the absence of Wong Choong Hann, the 23-year-old Tsuen Seng is the top ranked Malaysian men's singles player for the Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships, which will be held in Eindhoven from March 18-23.
And he believes that standing up to the challenge as the lead player of the team is a big step in his aspiration to play a similar role in more prestigious Thomas Cup world men's team Finals in the future.
“I have never spearheaded the national team before. This will be a new experience for me,” said the Manchester Commonwealth Games silver medallist.
“Hopefully, with this exposure, I will be better prepared if I find myself in the same position in the Thomas Cup Finals.”
Tsuen Seng made his debut in a team event at the Thomas Cup qualifying round in Melbourne in February last year. He also featured in the Finals in Guangzhou. But in both tournaments, he was not the top ranked singles player.
Malaysia make it to the final against Indonesia and Tsuen Seng scored a famous win over Taufik Hidayat in the second singles match. But his efforts were al in vain as Malaysia went on to lose the tie 2-3.
On Malaysia's chances in the Sudirman Cup, Tsuen Seng said: “We are not a force in a mixed team event. But I will be out to win a point for the team in every tie. Hopefully, we will be able to give our opponents a good fight.”
Besides Tsuen Seng, the other men for the mixed team event are Yeoh Kay Bin, Koo Kien Keat and the doubles combination of Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah. The women in the team are Wong Mew Choo and the doubles combination of Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty.
Malaysia are in Group A of the Second Division with Sweden, Germany and Hong Kong. Group B comprises Japan, Holland, Taiwan and Ukraine. The champions of each group will play off for promotion to Division One.
The championship division, title holders and top seed China, South Korea, Thailand are in Group A. The other group comprises Indonesia, Denmark and England.
The task for Tsuen Seng ahead of the Sudirman Cup is to win his first local Open title – in the Selangor Open, which begins on Thursday at the Selangor BA Hall in Kampung Attap. Tsuen Seng is the top seed for the tournament.
The other contenders for title include Yong Hock Kin, Sairul Amar Ayob and Ismail Saman.
Tsuen Seng is also hoping that he would get a chance to feature in his third World Championships, which will be held in Birmingham from May 12-18.
National singles chief coach Misbun Sidek will announce the names of the three singles players for the meet on Thursday.
Malaysia's top ranked player Wong Choong Hann, by virtue of being the top qualifier, and the All-England champion Mohd Hafiz Hashim are virtually assured of places.
The other spot is a toss up between Tsuen Seng and Mohd Roslin Hashim.