LEE Chong Wei made a telling statement when he won the Indonesia Open singles title on Sunday that he is not just on track but will be Malaysia’s best bet to clinch a title in the World Championships in Hyderabad on Aug 10-16.
Chong Wei’s ability to bounce back from an embarrassing defeat in the Singapore Open just a week ago and destroy Indonesia’s favourite sporting idol, Taufik Hidayat in his own backyard, is a good sign that the Malaysian World No 1 can nail the major title in Hyderabad.
Sunday’s win by no means makes him the favourite for the singles title in the World Championships as China’s Olympic champion Lin Dan will be looking to seal his hat-trick in the event but nonetheless, this will be Chong Wei’s best chance to put his more illustrious opponent in the shade.
Lin Dan has not been the same since winning gold in Beijing and it remains to be seen if he remains hungry enough to secure another world title.
Also, he seems uninterested to regain the World No 1 spot which he held for nearly four years. He has not won any title since clinching the All England in March.
However, Lin Dan’s reputation as a player with the big match temperament will still make him the one to beat in Hyderabad.
Should Chong Wei keep his momentum, a silver medal is his for the taking but if he wants to turn silver into gold, he must go that extra mile.
He must work hard and in the knowledge that he will be carrying the nation’s hopes as none of his compatriots, not even women’s doubles Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui, will have a better chance of winning a title.
Pei Tty-Eei Hui can take pride after clinching the Indonesia Open on Sunday where they finally sent South Korea’s Lee Kyung Won-Lee Hyo Jung scurrying and also outplayed bogey pair Cheng Wen Hsing-Chien Yu Chin comprehensively.
The victory will surely boost their confidence ahead of the World Championships but in Hyderabad, they will have to contend with China’s top pairs Du Jing-Yu Yang and Zhang Yawen-Zhao Tingting who gave the Indonesia Open a miss.
While gold may be out of their reach, silver or bronze will be a creditable achievement for Pei Tty-Eei Hui.
Men’s doubles Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong again underachieved in Jakarta and expecting them to cause a stir in the World Championships will be a long shot, so a bronze is what they are worth going by their present form.