KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has decided to play in the US$1mil (RM3.29mil) Indian Badminton League (IBL) after all.
The Malaysian, who lost to Lin Dan of China in the final of the World Championships last week, left for New Delhi on Sunday. He will open play for Mumbai Masters Tuesday.
Chong Wei is the highest paid player in the league with the club securing his services for a fee of US$135,000 (RM440,000).
National singles chief coach Rashid Sidek said the league would present a fresh challenge for Chong Wei.
“Chong Wei is back to his usual self after the disappointment at the World Championships. The inaugural league is very exciting and interesting for the players and coaches. It is a nice shift from the usual Open tournaments,” said Rashid, who is the coach for Delhi Smashers.
“The format is also very exciting. There is a no deuce when a player reaches 20 and the rubber game is only played until 11 points. The new twist to the format makes it unique and interesting.”
Besides Chong Wei and his coach Tey Seu Bock, seven other Malaysian players are involved in the league. They are Chong Wei Feng, Liew Daren, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong.
Six teams are competing in the league, which started on Wednesday. Each tie involves two men’s singles matches and one mixed doubles, men’s doubles and women’s singles clashes.
The league is played over six cities with a total of 90 matches being held. It will culminate with the final on Aug 31.