PETALING JAYA: Tan Chun Seang can consider himself lucky to be given the nod to join world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei as the two men’s singles representatives from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) for the Singapore Open next week.
Singles chief coach Rashid Sidek grounded the rest of the shuttlers, including former All-England champion Mohd Hafiz Hashim, from the tournament for serving up inconsistent performances over the last few months.
And Chun Seang will be out to prove that he is worthy of the place.
He will have to earn his place in the main draw from the qualifying rounds and standing in his way is Chinese junior Gong Weijie.
A place in the tournament proper will give Chun Seang a match against Indonesian Simon Santoso. If he advances, Chun Seang will take on either Ng Wei of Hong Kong or Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.
“I played against Gong Weijie in the qualifying round in Singapore last year. I’ve beaten him before and I hope to do it again. But unfortunately I was drawn against Peter-Gade Christensen in the first round,” said Chun Seang, who was beaten in three games by the top Dane.
“The draw is slightly better for me this time and I hope to do better.
“I will not get many chances to play in the Super Series if I continue to be inconsistent and I have to make good use of the opportunities that come my way.”
For the Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships in Guangzhou last month, Chun Seang was the men’s singles reserve to Chong Wei.
He did not get to play a match but Chun Seang was happy to be part of the team, who earned Malaysia their first-ever medal in the series, a bronze, after losing to eventual champions China in the semi-finals.
“I had expected this all along and it was the opportunity to see at close hand what it’s like to feature in a major team competition,” he said.
The 22-year-old has yet to reach the last eight in a Super Series tournament.
But he made his mark in the recent India Open, a second-tier tournament on the world circuit, with a quarter-final appearance.
The unseeded Chun Seang turned the tables on Vietnamese Nguyen Tien Minh and Indian Anup Sridhar, a quarter-finalist in the 2007 World Championships, before bowing out to Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto.