LONDON: World No. 2 Lee Chong Wei is unperturbed that China’s Chen Long is in his half of the draw.
Chong Wei, who is the top seed for the Olympics, has an easy enough opening round with only Finland’s Ville Lang for company in Group A.
The Malaysian was given the top seeding based on the world rankings in May. Chong Wei’s arch rival Lin Dan, the reigning Olympic champion and current world number one, is seeded second.
Lin Dan, who is in the bottom half of the draw, also has an open run to the knockout stages with just unheralded Scott Evans of Ireland in his group.
The winners of the 16 groups advance to the knockout round where the 29-year-old Chong Wei is expected to meet Indonesia’s Simon Santoso.
He is then projected to come up against Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the quarter-finals and the dangerous Chen Long in the semi-finals, if he lives up to his seeding.
The third seeded Chen Long, however, must first overcome Thailand’s unpredictable Boonsak Ponsana, who comes into the tournament in good form after winning the Singapore Open last month.
The other top players in Chong Wei’s half of the draw are Denmark’s Peter Gade Christensen, South Korean Shon Wan-ho and Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh.
Defending champion Lin Dan, the second seed, has compatriot Chen Jin, Sho Sasaki (Japan), Taufik Hidayat (Indonesia) and Lee Hyun-il (South Korea) with him in the bottom half of the draw.
Chong Wei emphasised that he had to deal with his opponents one match at a time.
“It doesn’t matter who it is as past records mean nothing in the Olympics. Every player must be given due respect,” said Chong Wei when contacted in Bath.
“I’m expected to play Simon Santoso in the last 16 and although the stats are in my favour, I will have to give it my best.
“It’s pointless talking about potential opponents when I need to clear one hurdle at a time.”
Lang will be Chong Wei’s first match since May 22, when he tore right ankle ligaments at the Thomas Cup Finals in Wuhan.
BA of Malaysia (BAM) high performance director Datuk James Selvaraj said the draw was pretty much what they expected it to be.
“We were only waiting to see if it was Chen Long or Chen Jin in Chong Wei’s path,” said James.
“Obviously, Chen Jin would have been the better option but we’ll just have to deal with it.
“Chong Wei is ready for action, whoever it is he has to meet.”
Lin Dan and Chen Jin are seeded to repeat their semi-final clash of Beijing 2008.
The Chinese women have won the last three Olympic singles gold medals and are favoured again with the top three seeded players: No. 1 Wang Yihan, No. 2 Wang Xin, and No. 3 Li Xuerui, all making their Olympic debuts.
Li Xuerui, the form player on tour after a 30-match winning streak, is in Wang Xin’s half of the draw.
Wang Yihan’s half features the two best non-Chinese threats for the gold, No. 4 Saina Nehwal of India and No. 5 Tine Baun of Denmark.
Malaysia’s Tee Ying Ji is in Group B with South Korea’s Bae Yeon-ju and Italy’s Agnese Allegrini of Italy.
The badminton competition starts on Saturday.
Group A: Lee Chong Wei (Mas), Ville Lang (Fin).
Group B: Simon Santoso (Ina), Michael Lahnsteiner (Aut), Raul Must (Est).
Group C: Kenichi Tago (Jpn), Niluka Karunarate (Sri).
Group D: Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie), Kashyap Parupilli (Ina), Yuhan Tan (Bel).
Group E: Chen Long (Chn), Boonsak Ponsana (Tha).
Group F: Wong Wing Ki (Hkg), Edwin Ekiring (Uga), Brice Leverdez (Fra).
Group G: Peter-Gade Christensen (Den), Pedro Martins (Por).
Group H: Son Wan-ho (Kor), Vladimir Ivanov (Rus), Hsu Jen-hao (Tpe).
Group I: Jan O Jorgensen (Den), Misha Zilberman (Isr), Derek Wong (Sin).
Group J: Lee Hyun-il (Kor), Rodrigo Pacheco Carrillo (Per).
Group K: Marc Zwiebler (Ger), Mohd Ajfan Rasheed (Mdv), Dmytro Zavadsky (Ukr).
Group L: Chen Jin (Chn), Przemyslaw Wacha (Pol).
Group M: Rajiv Ouseph (Bri), Henri Kurskainen (Swe), Kevin Cordon (Gua).
Group N: Sho Sasaki (Jpn), Virgil Soerordjo (Sur).
Group O: Taufik Hidayat (Ina), Pablo Abian (Spa), Petr Koukal (Cze).
Group P: Lin Dan (Chn), Scott Evans (Irl).
Group A: Cai Yun- Fu Haifeng (Chn), Fang Chieh Min-Lee Sheng Mu (Tpe), Ross Smith-Glenn Warfe (Aus), Ingo Kindervater-Johannes Schoettler (Ger).
Group B: Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeong-seong (Kor), Bodin Issara-Maneepong Jongjit (Tha), Adam Cwalina-Michal Logosz (Pol), Mohammad Ahsan-Bona Septano (Ina).
Group C: Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den), Chai Biao-Guo Zhendong (Chn), Dorian Lance James-Willem Viljoen (Rsa), Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov (Rus).
Group D: Chung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae (Kor), Howard Bach-Tony Gunawan (US), Naoki Kawamae-Shoji Sato (Jpn), Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (Mas).
Group A: Wang Yihan (Chn), Michelle Li (Can).
Group B: Bae Yeon-ju (Kor), Tee Jing Yi (Mas), Agnese Allegrini (Ita).
Group C: Cheng Shao-chieh (Tpe), Neslihan Yigit (Tur), Simone Prutsch (Aut).
Group D: Juan Gu (Sin), Victoria Na (Aus), Monika Fasungova (Svk).
Group E: Saina Nehwal (Ind), Sabrina Jaquet (Swi), Lianne Tan (Bel).
Group F: Jie Yao (Ned), Ragna Ingolfsadottir (Isl), Akvile Stapusaityte (Ltu).
Group G: Tine Baun (Den), Anastasia Prokopenko (Rus), Kamila Augustyn (Pol).
Group H: Sayaka Sato (Jpn), Susan Egelstaff (Bri), Maja Tvrdy (Slo).
Group I: Pi Hongyan (Fra), Hadia Hosny (Egy), Chloe Magee (Irl).
Group J: Sung Ji-hyun (Kor), Yip Pui Yin (Hkg), Sara B Kverno (Nor).
Group K: Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe), Anu Nieminen (Fin), Victoria Montero (Mex).
Group L: Li Xuerui (Chn), Carolina Marin (Spa), Claudia Rivero Modensi (Per).
Group M: Ratchanok Intanon (Tha), Thilini Jayasinghe (Sri), Telma Santos (Por).
Group N: Juliane Schenk (Ger), Larisa Griga (Ukr), Kristina Gavnholt (Cze).
Group O: Petya Nedelcheva (Bul), Adrianti Firdasari (Ina), Alesia Zaitsava (Blr).
Group P: Wang Xin (Chn), Rena Wang (US).
Group A: Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (Chn), Jung Kyung-eun-Kim Ha-na (Kor), Valeri Sorokina-Nina Vislova (Rus), Alex Bruce-Michelle Li (Can).
Group B: Mizuki Fujii-Reika Kakiiwa (Jpn), Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnappa (Ind), Cheng Wen-hsing-Chien Yu-chin (Tpe), Shinta Sari Mulia-Yao Lei (Sin).
Group C: Ha Jung-eun-Kim Min-jung (Kor), Leanne Choo-Renuga Veeran (Aus), Michelle Edwards-Annari Viljoen (Rsa), Meiliana Jauhari-Greysia Polii (Ina).
Group D: Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei (Chn), Miyuki Maeda-Satoko Suetsuna (Jpn), Christinna Pedersen-Kamila Rytter Juhl (Den), Poon Lok Yan-Tse Suet Ying (Hkg).
Group A: Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn), Alexandr Nikolaenko-Valeri Sorokina (Rus), Michael Fuchs-Birgit Michels (Ger), Chris Adcock-Imogen Bankier (Bri).
Group B: Joachim Fischer-Christinna Pedersen (Den), Shintaro Ikeda-Shiota Reiko (Jpn), Toby Ng-Grace Gao (Can), Robert Mateusiak-Nadiezda Zieba (Pol).
Group C: Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir (Ina), Thomas Laybourn-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den), Lee Yong-dae-Ha Jung-eun (Kor), Viju D-Jwala Gutta (Ind).
Group D: Xu Chen-Ma Jin (Chn), Sudket Prapakamol-Saralee Thungthongkam (Tha), Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (Mas), Chen Hung-ling-Cheng Wan-hsing (Tpe).