Kuala Lumpur: With the absence of world number one Lee Chong Wei, it would be an uphill task for team Malaysia to defend the trophy at the 2014 Axiata Cup tournament. Malaysia defeated Thailand 3-1 to win the cup in 2013.
Malaysia’s second men’s singles shutter Chong Wei Feng is aware of the challenges but is hoping for a good showing.
“It’s is difficult without Chong Wei, but we are determined to make it at least to the semi-finals,” said Wei Feng.
Daren Liew who played in both 2012, and 2013 editions, also urged all players to play their best even though Lee Chong Wei couldn’t join them this time.
“Chong Wei played a huge part to help Malaysian win the Axiata Cup last year, we will play our best to not let Chong Wei down,” said Daren.
With Goh V Shem also unavailable for the tournament due to right knee injury, Malaysia will have to rotate among Hoon Thien How, Tan Boon Heong and Tan Wee Kiong in the men’s doubles event to ensure players are given enough rest.
Teams that take part in the tournament are – Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, Asia and Europe All Stars – competing in a round-robin format to book a semi-final berth. The semi-finals will be held at the Cheras Badminton Stadium from Dec 6-7.
The other shuttlers in the Malaysia team are Tee Jing Yi, Ho Yen Mei, Chan Peng Soon, Tan Aik Quan, Ng Hui Lin and Lai Pei Jing.
The Axiata Cup champion will receive US$400,000 (RM1.3 million) and the second place winner US$200,000 (RM668, 000).