Tsuen Seng earns third Malaysian spot to World Championships

KUALA LUMPUR: Former na­­tional men’s singles shuttler Lee Tsuen Seng is all excited about making a third appearance in the World Championships — in Hyderabad from Aug 10-16.

In the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings list released yesterday, the KLRC Bhd player remains at number 18.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) Mohd Hafiz Hashim, who is the only other Malaysian expected to deny Tsuen Seng of a place, tumbled out of the top 24 to 29th spot. The drop was a result of a second-round defeat by China’s Chen Long in the Asian Championships (ABC) in Suwon, South Korea, last week.

Hafiz had sparked off a great hope to make the grade for the World Championships with a runner-up finish in the India Open in Hyderabad two weeks ago but he muffed it all up in the ABC.

A country can have a maximum of three players if all of them are ranked among the top 24.

The two Malaysians ahead of Tsuen Seng in the rankings are world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and another former national player, Wong Choong Hann, who is in 11th spot. Another KLRC Bhd player, Sairul Amar Ayob, is at No. 24.

The ABC were the last major championships that offered valuable rankings points ahead of the World Championships’ qualifying deadline at the end of the month. With no other major tournaments in the next one week, it is unlikely that there will be major changes to the rankings.

The 30-year-old Tsuen Seng said that the World Championships would be his last fling in top-flight badminton.

“I have gone from tournament to tournament in my bid to make the cut for the World Championships. I have qualified on merit, I have earned the place and no one should take it away from me,” said Tsuen Seng, who trains under Ong Beng Teong.

“My performances may not be that encouraging this year but I am happy that I can still maintain my physical condition.

“I will be out to clear the early rounds for the first time in the World Championships. Anything else will be a perfect farewell gift for me. I plan to take it easy and play badminton for fun after that.”

In the men’s doubles, Malaysia have four pairs among the top 24. The top three are Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (No. 4), Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari (No. 5) and Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wah Wah (No. 10).

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