KUALA LUMPUR: The doubles pair of Lee Wan Wah-Choong Tan Fook, who are making a comeback to the top flight, have cleared one big hurdle as they gear up for the World Badminton Championships, which will be played in Birmingham from May 12-18.
Both the players now have a much better rapport. There had been strains in their partnership between the 2001 World Championships and last year's Thomas Cup Finals in Guangzhou. But since coming under the charge of doubles chief coach Yap Kim Hock this year, the rift has mended.
Said the 28-year-old Wan Wah: We have a better understanding in training. Our relationship is better than before and we hold more discussions.
Age is catching up with us and we do not have time to waste anymore. In the past, we used to question each other taking a day's off because of tiredness.
Now we understand each other better and have learnt to trust each other. He knows what I want and I know what he wants. We have the same dream and goals.
He added that their aim was to do well in the Athens Olympic Games next year before they consider quitting the game.
I went for a knee surgery last year because I did not want to be hampered by the injury. I still want to play in the Olympics and this has kept me going.
I am taking precautions to ensure that I do not get injured again. I get my legs massaged after training and also apply ice on it. Even today after three months, I still go back to the NSI (National Sports Institute) to examine my knee.
On the upcoming world championships, Wan Wah said that they had been putting in a lot of hard work.
We know that it will not be easy in the world meet but we will give our best, he said.
If you ask me whether we can win the world title, I will say unlikely but we still have a chance. We have always found difficulty beating the Korean, Indonesians and some of Danish pairs. They will be our main rivals in Birmingham.
The Koreans have two formidable pairs in Kim Dong-moon-Ha Tae-kwon and Lee Dong-soo-Yoo Yong-sung. Indonesia's best bets are Candra Wijaya-Sigit Budiarto and the Danes have Jens Eriksen-Martin Lundgaard Hansen.
At the last world meet in Seville two years ago, Tan Fook-Wan Wah lost to Dong-moon-Tae-kwon in the semi-finals.
Malaysia will also be represented in the men's doubles by Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng. They were also beaten in the semi-finals of the last world meet, going down to eventual champions Halim Hariyanto-Tony Gunawan of Indonesia.