CHONG WEI OP­TI­MISTIC

Pres­ence of other Olympic sil­ver medal­lists gives Malaysia fight­ing chance in Sudirman Cup

New Straits Times - - Sport - FABIAN PETER fabian.mark@nst.com.my

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.

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