Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian badminton maestro Lee Chong Wei has urged his Thomas Cup teammates to show their fighting spirit in the Thomas Cup finals that will be held in Kunshan, China from May 15 to 22.
Malaysia was runners-up in the 2014 edition after brushing aside Indonesia 3-0 in the semi-finals to make their first appearance in the finals after 12 years.
However, the Malaysian team were left licking their wounds after falling short in the final, losing to Japan 2-3 at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, India.
“We should compete without pressure and play with nothing to lose. The Malaysian players should give their very best in Kunshan,” said Lee.
While talking to reporters at a wedding ceremony, he admitted that countries such as China, Denmark, and South Korea would pose existential threats to Malaysia at the 2016 Thomas Cup.
“China has Chen Long, Lin Dan and Tian Houwei, while Viktor Axelsen, Jan Jorgensen and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus are three very good men’s singles players in the world, therefore, we cannot underestimate them,” added Lee.
“Furthermore, our top two men’s doubles players, namely Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong and Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong are likely tired from a demanding Olympic qualifying schedule.”
In the 2016 Malaysia Thomas Cup squad, World No. 52 Wei Feng was named at the expense of world No. 41 Zulfadli Zulkiffli to join Lee Chong Wei, Iskandar Zulkarnain and Goh Soon Huat in the singles department. Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong, Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong as well as Teo Ee Yi/Ong Yew Sin have been selected as doubles pairs in the Thomas Cup squad.
The last time Malaysia won the Thomas Cup was on May 16 1992, when the Malaysian team beat Indonesia 3-2 in a pulsating final.