SEPANG, July 24 — Malaysian singles ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei has an easy path when he was balloted to compete against with the world’s 45th ranked player, Ville Lang from Finland, in Group A for the Olympic Games which scheduled to begin this Saturday.
However, the path was not so easy for Malaysian top doubles Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong and mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying.
Koo and Tan are scheduled to play against world’s top doubles Chung Jae Sung/Lee Yong Dae from South Korea, Indonesia’s Howard Bach/Tony Gunawan and Naoki Kawamae/Shoji Sato of Japan in Group D.
Mixed doubles, Chan and Goh, on the other hand, are scheduled to play against world’s number two pairs Xu Chen/Ma Jin from China, Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam from Thailand and Chen Hung Ling/Cheng Wan Hsing from Taiwan in Group D.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the mission to win the country’s first Olympic gold medal for badminton seemed promising as the national ace had an easy path in the round robin format.
"Playing in the round robin format will be a warm up exercise for Chong Wei and I hope that will help him to gain the rhythm for the real game.
"It is also an advantage for Koo/Tan when they were balloted to have quite a difficult path in the early stage because if they get through it, I’m sure that will boost their confidence level to play in the next round," he said when met at the KL International Airport (KLIA) Sepang, Monday night.
Under the new round robin format beginning with this edition of the Olympic Games in London, the singles players will be divided into 16 groups with each group comprising four players. Only the champion of each group will advance on a knock-out basis.
For the doubles, 16 pairs will compete in four groups, also on a round robin format, before the two best pairs from each group meet on knock out basis.