PETALING JAYA: The absence of the Chinese and South Korean big guns will present Lee Chong Wei and the doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong the better chance to come out triumphant from the Singapore Open scheduled for June 10-15.
World number one Lin Dan will be giving the fifth leg of the Super Series a skip together with Bao Chunlai and Chen Jin, who are now ranked third and fourth in the world respectively. Also sitting out are the top two Koreans, Park Sung-hwan and Lee Hyun-il.
The only Chinese representative in the singles is Chen Yu, who will not feature in the Beijing Olympics in August.
World number two Chong Wei will be gunning for his second Super Series title this year after lifting the Malaysian Open in January and he is the top seed ahead of Danish veteran Kenneth Jonassen.
In the Singapore Open last year, Chong Wei was beaten by fellow Malaysian Mohd Hafiz Hashim in the first round.
Five other Malaysians will join Chong Wei and Hafiz to play in the main draw. They are Wong Choong Hann, Roslin Hashim, Lee Tsuen Seng, Sairol Amar Ayob and Yeoh Kay Bin.
Indonesia have Sony Dwi Kuncoro, Taufik Hidayat and Simon Santoso in the fray while Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana will be defending the title.
Defending champions Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun of China and in-form Koreans Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung are among the top pairs missing from the men's doubles competition.
Their absence leaves world number one Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan and the Danish pair of Jonas Rasmussen-Lars Paaske as the early favourites to win the title.
The Singapore Open presents the chance for Kien Keat-Boon Heong to make amends for their first-round defeat by team-mates Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Latif in last year's tournament.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who are currently ranked fifth in the world, not only have to improve on their rankings but they also have to boost their confidence ahead of the Beijing Olympics.
A question mark remains on the participation of veterans Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah as the latter came down with a right shoulder injury in the Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta last week.
Doubles chief coach Rexy Mainaky said that he should know by next week if Wan Wah could feature in the Open.
“Wan Wah is on a one-week leave and I have to talk to him about his latest condition. In the meantime, we have submitted their entry together with those of all the other pairs in the national team,” he said.
Tan Fook-Wan Wah were the runners-up last year and if they get to start, they will be the second seeds.