New for­mat may bring su­per­star back

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

MALAYSIA’S world num­ber one Lee Chong Wei said a new scor­ing for­mat could tempt him to ex­tend his ca­reer to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and take yet another shot at an elu­sive badminton gold medal.

The 33-year-old’s in­ter­est has been piqued by the Badminton World Fed­er­a­tion’s (BWF) ex­per­i­ments with an 11-point, best-of-five sys­tem, in­stead of the tra­di­tional 21-point, best-of-three for­mat.

Lee said Chi­nese fel­low vet­eran Lin Dan, a two-time Olympic cham­pion, may also be per­suaded to play on un­der the new sys­tem, which is con­sid­ered less phys­i­cally de­mand­ing and there­fore bet­ter for older play­ers.

“Noth­ing is con­firmed yet, but if there is in­deed a change I could very well com­pete at the Tokyo Olympics,” Lee was quoted as say­ing by The Star news­pa­per yes­ter­day.

“Even Lin Dan might play on as the 11-point sys­tem would mean shorter matches ... which is bet­ter for se­nior play­ers like us.

“We cer­tainly have the ex­pe­ri­ence. Play­ing in shorter matches is def­i­nitely bet­ter be­cause I be­lieve we can con­trol the shut­tle­cock bet­ter.”

The BWF was not im­me­di­ately avail­able to com­ment on the new scor­ing for­mat, which was tri­alled last week at an un­der-19 event in Malaysia.

Lee had pre­vi­ously said that last month’s Rio Olympics, where he fin­ished run­ner-up for the third Games in a row, would be his last.

De­spite fail­ing once again to de­liver Malaysia’s first-ever gold medal, and a dop­ing ban last year, Lee en­joys su­per­star sta­tus in his home coun­try, where the BWF is based. –

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