KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 — Malaysian shuttlers competing in the London Olympics are expected to face contrasting fortunes in the men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles competition.
National singles ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei was drawn against less formidable opponents while the men’s doubles pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong will have a daunting task against South Korea’s leading pair.
Chong Wei, the world number is expected to go through an easy passage to the semi-final after being drawn against world number 45, Ville Lang from Finland in Group A.
Barring any upsets, Chong Wei is expected to meet China’s rising star Chen Long in the semis and probably meet defending champion Lin Dan of China in the final.
Former world number one pair Kien Keat-Boon Heong are drawn in Group D together with world number one pair Chung Jae Sung/Lee Yong Dae from South Korea, Howard Bach/Tony Gunawan (US/Indonesia) and Japanese pair Naoki Kawamae/Shoji Sato.
Mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying, making their Olympics debut, will certainly have an uphill task after being drawn in Group D against world number two pair Xu Chen/Ma Jin from China, Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam from Thailand and Chen Hung Ling/Cheng Wan Hsing from Taiwan.
The Olympics format for singles will see 64 players divided in 16 groups comprising four players each while the top player from each group will advance to the next round.
The doubles competition will see 16 pairs divided into four groups and the top two teams from each group advancing to the knockout stage.
Meanwhile, deputy Youth and Sports minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim said based on the draw made for the Olympics yesterday, Chong Wei, 29, must treat every game seriously and not just consider the round robin matches as a warm up although his opponents may be weaker.