CHONG WEI OPTIMISTIC
Presence of other Olympic silver medallists gives Malaysia fighting chance in Sudirman Cup
WORLD No 1 Lee Chong Wei admitted it will be tougher to lead the national squad at the Sudirman Cup that gets underway in Gold Coast, Australia today compared to two years ago.
According to the 35-year-old World No 1, it is his responsibility to keep the team spirit high, which he considers most challenging.
“One must understand that it is not only up to players like Goh V Shem, Tan Wee Kiong, Chan Peng Soon and I to deliver points. Even if I win and everyone else oses, we still lose but if I lose and everyone else wins, we win,” said Chong Wei.
The three-time Olympic silver medallist added the Sudirman Cup is very different from other competitions and he is still holding on to Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s advise to him, when he handed over the Jalur Gemilang to the national team last week.
“At the Olympics in Brazil last year, nobody expected our men’s doubles (V Shem-Wee Kiong) and mixed doubles (Peng Soon-Liu Ying) to reach the final, so I believe it will be the same for us in this year’s Sudirman Cup. We are ready to face anybody.
“Most people also think that we are weak in the absence of Goh Liu Ying, who had to undergo surgery (in Germany), but we still have Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing and Peng Soon, who can still form a formidable pair.”
Chong Wei also believes that having other Rio Olympic Games silver medallists in the squad increases the team’s chances to do well this year.
“We are lucky because we have a few days to prepare before our opening tie. We need to focus on our training and make sure we don’t lose concentration.”
Malaysia, who are in Group 1C, will open their campaign on Tuesday against Germany before taking on favourites Japan a day later.
The national team’s best ever performance was at the 2009 edition in Guangzhou, China where they reached the semi-finals.
The quarter-final draw will be held after the final group stage tie on Wednesday.
At the Olympics in Brazil last year, nobody expected our men’s doubles (V Shem-Wee Kiong) and mixed doubles (Peng Soon-Liu Ying) to reach the final, so I believe it will be the same for us in this year’s Sudirman Cup. We are ready to face anybody. LEE CHONG WEI
Goh Liu Ying is out after undergoing surgery in Germany.