PETALING JAYA: Olympic men’s singles badminton champion Lin Dan (pic) has entered for the Malaysian Open to be held at Stadium Putra in Bukit Jalil from Jan 19-24 in a bid to capture one of the two Super Series title to elude him so far.
The top Chinese shuttlers were conspiciously absent from last year’s Malaysian Open and the Super Series Masters Finals in Johor Baru earlier this month but China have decided to turn out in force for the second Super Series event after the Korea Open.
The only notable absentees from the Chinese squad are world champions Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun.
All top four Chinese singles players – Lin Dan, Chen Jin, Bao Chunlai and Chen Long, were in the preliminary list of entries released by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) yesterday.
If Lin Dan and the top Chinese shuttlers live up to their words, their presence here will be a boost to the organisers in terms of ticket sales.
Lin Dan’s presence, however, will make it interesting as he is expected to renew his rivalry with current world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.
The Malaysian Open and Indonesia Open are the two Super Series title Lin Dan has yet to win and it could be just the motivation he needs after having collected all the major titles there is to win in his sport.
Lin Dan has also showed his intent to put up a good show by skipping the season-opening Korea Open, which will be held a week before the Malaysian Open.
Lin Dan’s presence also raises the prospect of a mouth-watering final encounter with Chong Wei.
Lin Dan came closest to winning the Malaysian Open on two previous attempts when he reached the final in 2005 and 2006 but lost to Chong Wei on both occasions.
Malaysian Chong Wei is almost unbeatable when he is playing on home soil but this time, he will hampered by poor match fitness.
Chong Wei retained his Super Series Masters Finals title earlier in the month but gave up on the chance to bag his first SEA Games individual gold medal due to a nagging thigh injury and was advised by coach Misbun Sidek not to travel to Laos.
Other than China, Denmark, Indonesia and South Korea are also sending their top players for the Malaysian Open this time.
Denmark have Peter-Gade Christensen, Jan Jorgensen and Tine Rasmussen on their list of entries.
Indonesia will be banking on the likes of SEA Games men’s singles gold medallist Simon Santoso and Sony Dwi Kuncoro to spoil the show for Malaysia.
In the men’s doubles, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong will not find it easy in their bid to recapture a second Malaysian Open title as they have to deal with the likes of Indonesian SEA Games gold medallists Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan and Lee Yong-dae-Jun Jae-sung of South Korea.