LET’S THINK BIG

Chong Wei urges team­mates to reach Sudirman Cup fi­nal

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AJITPAL SINGH ajit­pals­ingh@nst.com.my

NOTH­ING is im­pos­si­ble for World No 1 Lee Chong Wei. Malaysia have never set high hopes in the Sudirman Cup but the 34-year-old has chal­lenged his team to cre­ate his­tory and make the fi­nal for the first time in the mixed-team com­pe­ti­tion, which starts on Sun­day in Gold Coast, Aus­tralia.

The Chong Wei-led team are in Group IC with 2014 Thomas Cup win­ners Ja­pan and Ger­many. Malaysia’s best ever show­ing in the Sudirman Cup was reach­ing the semi-fi­nals in 2009 in Guangzhou. In 2015 in Dong­guan, the team ex­ited the quar­ter-fi­nals.

“We have noth­ing to lose... I be­lieve we have a bright chance of go­ing far.

“I think our only set­back is in the mixed dou­bles due to the un­avail­abil­ity of Goh Liu Ying,” said Chong Wei af­ter he ex­tended his con­tract as 100PLUS brand am­bas­sador for another two years in Pe­tal­ing Jaya yes­ter­day.

“We still have an op­tion in World No 11 Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing in the mixed dou­bles. Liu Ying’s part­ner Chan Peng Soon is also in the squad and he can part­ner young­ster Cheah Yee See. I think we can man­age in this event.

“The team have depth in the dou­bles depart­ment. We can in­ter-change the part­ners to serve our op­po­nents a sur­prise. Ev­ery­one is ea­ger and pre­pared for the chal­lenge.

“We aim for the semi-fi­nals first be­fore we look at reach­ing the fi­nal, which will be a bonus if we do.”

Chong Wei said un­like in pre­vi­ous edi­tions, Malaysia’s young­sters in the team are also ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing points.

“Women’s sin­gles Goh Jin Wei has been churn­ing out de­cent re­sults while Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi can eas­ily pro­duce the same ef­fect as World No 4 Goh V ShemTan Wee Kiong if they are fielded,” Chong Wei added.

The team, who leave for Aus­tralia to­mor­row, will open their cam­paign against Ger­many on May 23, fol­lowed by Ja­pan the fol­low­ing day. The top two in each group will make the quar­ter-fi­nals.

Oth­ers in the team are Iskandar Zulka­r­nain Zain­ud­din and Lee Zii Jia (men’s sin­gles), Soniia Cheah (women’s sin­gles), Woon Khe Wei-Vi­vian Hoo and Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (women’s dou­bles).

PIC BY LUQMAN HAKIM ZUBIR

BAM pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria (cen­tre) with Lee Chong Wei at an event to ex­tend the lat­ter’s con­tract as 100PLUS brand am­bas­sador in Pe­tal­ing Jaya yes­ter­day. Look­ing on are 100PLUS mar­ket­ing man­ager Leong Wai Yin (fourth from right), F&N con­sul­tant Datuk Ka­mal Harun (third from left) and F&N cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Cariessa Goh Geak (sec­ond from right).

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