KUALA LUMPUR: The year’s first badminton tournament – the Korean Open – is set for a red-hot finale in chilly Seoul.
World No. 1 and top seed Lee Chong Wei and second seed Chen Long of China were in sizzling form en route to overcoming their semi-final opponents on Saturday.
Chong Wei stood solid in the face of Kenichi Tago’s constant battering to prevail 21-17, 21-17 in 51 minutes while the lanky Chen Long packed off Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana 21-15, 21-9 in 41 minutes.
The opener saw Chong Wei losing his focus momentarily before making a comeback to nick it. The second game was nail-biting with both trading blow for blow before the 31-year-old Malaysian claimed his 15th win over the Japanese in 16 meetings.
But Chong Wei had better be wary of the lanky Chen Long, who is shaping up well for their first duel this year.
DESIRE: Choong Hann believes players must push harder to win titles
THE BA of Malaysia's (BAM) generous world ranking incentive and match bonus will only bear fruit if the national shuttlers cultivate a desire to achieve success.
Former international Wong Choong Hann, who enjoyed the benefits of the world ranking incentive and match bonus during his playing days, feels that the onus is on the players to earn quality results rather than settling for the minimum perks offered by BAM.
Choong Hann was one of the earliest players to receive as high as RM45,000 quarterly for being ranked among the top two in the men's singles and had also raked in lucrative match bonuses by consistently reaching the finals of grand prix events.
NO EFFECT: BAM's ranking, match bonuses lead to easily satisfied players
LEE Chong Wei may have won nearly RM1 million in prize money last year but cash, it seems, does not motivate the other national players.
Or it could be that the players are easily satisfied and if that is the case, it has surely got to do with the BA of Malaysia's world ranking and match bonuses.
Chong Wei was the only Malaysian shuttler in the top 50 prize money earners list last year as several other national players have been enjoying BAM's world ranking incentive scheme without even winning an international title for years.
Under the BAM scheme, players ranked in the top 16 in the men's singles and top 12 in the other disciplines are eligible for quarterly bonuses.
The men's singles and doubles can earn up to RM34,000 and RM33,000 respectively every three months for remaining in the top two positions.