KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has had enough of being the sole flag bearer for Malaysian badminton on the international scene.
And on Friday, after reaching the men’s singles’ semi-finals of the Korean Open in Seoul, he issued a clarion call to all his team-mates – especially the younger ones – to wake up and step out of their comfort zone.
The 31-year-old Chong Wei bulldozed past a hapless Du Pengyu of China 21-9, 21-12 in just 35 minutes to set up a meeting with Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the semi-finals on Saturday.
He is the only Malaysian survivor in the season-opener after Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem went down with a whimper against top seeds Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark in the men’s doubles quarter-finals.
The Malaysians lost 10-21, 9-21 in just 31 minutes.
Two-time Olympic Games silver medallist Chong Wei said that it was time everyone stopped depending on him, starting with the Korean Open.
KUALA LUMPUR: All the reigning world champions, except for China’s Lin Dan, will be making their presence felt in the Malaysian Open, which begins at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday.
Such a high-profile line-up is set to make this year’s edition an explosive one and a sure-fire way to draw in the crowd.
Malaysia are hosting the Super Series Premier for the first time and all the current world champions have confirmed their participation. They are Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon (women’s singles), China’s Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (women’s doubles) and Indonesia’s Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (men’s doubles) and Tontowi Ahmad-Lilyana Natsir (mixed doubles).
All of them triumphed in last year’s World Championships in Guangzhou.
KUALA LUMPUR: No new stars stole the show in the Korean Open on a day when two tournament favourites, Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long of China, made it to the men’s singles quarter-finals in contrasting fashions.
Top seed and defending champion Chong Wei stayed hot in a cold Seoul by disposing of Marc Zwiebler of Germany 21-14, 21-18 in the second round but second seed Chen Long dropped a game before making it through.
All England champion Chen Long overcame a sluggish start to beat Takuma Euda of Japan 19-21, 21-9, 21-14.
Today, Chong Wei will face a usual suspect – Du Pengyu of China, while Chen Long has set up a match against Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam.
National singles coach Rashid Sidek said that the season opener has given a sneak preview of what to expect in the men’s singles competition - probably for the rest of the season.