PETALING JAYA: The chances of veterans Wong Choong Hann and Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah featuring in the Thomas Cup Finals will very much depend on the outcome of the German Open, which will be held in Mulheim from March 2-7.
And, based on yesterday’s draw, the former internationals have a good chance to impress the selectors.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are using the German Open as one of the tournaments – the other is the All-England – to choose the team members for the Finals, which will be held at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil from May 9-16.
The seasoned campaigners, who left the national team in 2008, may be considered if they continue to do better than the back-up shuttlers, starting with the German Open.
National chief coach Rashid Sidek had said that he had not ruled out the veterans just yet and would risk selecting non-BAM players if they were still good.
Yesterday, third seed Choong Hann was drawn in the same half with top seed Bao Chunlai of China, Holland’s Dicky Palyama, Indonesia’s Andre Kurniawan Tedjono and Malaysia’s Kuan Beng Hong and Tan Chun Seang.
Choong Hann is expected to meet Andre in a second round match that could go down to the wire.
Choong Hann is hoping for a fresh start after going down tamely to Wacha Przemyslaw of Poland in the first round of the Malaysian Open.
“I am better prepared for the German Open. I am not going into the tournament wanting to win a ticket for the Thomas Cup Finals,”said Choong Hann.
“I just want to achieve good results. But if I am called to represent the country, I will be willing to step in to help out the team.”
Malaysia’s Mohd Hafiz Hashim is also eying a good start after crashing out in the opening round of the Malaysian Open.
He is in the other half of the draw with two back-up shuttlers Chong Wei Feng and Chan Kwong Beng. Others in their half are second seed Chen Long, Germany’s Marc Zwiebler and Taiwan’s Hsieh Yu-hsing.
Barring an upset, Hafiz is expected to face ninth seed Andrew Smith of England in the third round. But Hafiz could find Kwong Beng as his third round opponent if the former can dispose of Smith in the second round.
Besides Hafiz, all the back-up players – Kwong Beng, Chun Seang and Wei Feng – are desperate to prove their worth in a bid to seal a ticket for the Thomas Cup Finals.
In the men’s doubles, top seeds Tan Fook-Wan Wah will have fourth seeds Rupesh Kumar-Thomas Sanave of India and fifth seeds Chao Biao-Zhang Nan of China in their half.
In the bottom half of the draw with second seeds Chen Hung-lin-Lin Yu-lang of Taiwan are four Malaysian pairs – Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong, Lim Khim Wah-Chan Peng Soon, Ong Soon Hock-Hoon Thien How and Gan Teik Chai-Tan Bin Shen.