OLYMPIC champion Lin Dan will make his return to international badminton at the China Open in Shanghai on Nov 18-23 and this does not augur well for Lee Chong Wei as he continues to bid for his first title as World No 1.
Lin Dan, the second seed, has been absent from tournaments since defeating Chong Wei in the Beijing Olympics singles final in August.
Chong Wei, who is under tremendous pressure to maintain his World No 1 ranking, has failed to stamp his dominance in three recent tournaments.
He failed at the final hurdle of the Japan and Macau Opens, losing to Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro and former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat, respectively.
Realising that Lin Dan would soon make a return, the 26-year-old Malaysian skipped the Denmark Open two weeks ago, to prepare for the just concluded French Open.
However, it did not have the desired effect as Chong Wei was again denied by Taufik, this time in the semi-finals in Paris.
Lin Dan will not be his only rival as the China Open has attracted many top shuttlers.
Among those competing are South Korea’s Park Shun Hwan, China’s Chen Jin, Bao Chunlai and Taufik.
Peter Gade Christensen, who nailed the Denmark and French Opens, will also be a major threat.
Meanwhile, former national doubles players Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah will also be in action, together with World No 6 Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Zakry Latif-Fairuzizuan Tazari.
China’s Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun will renew their partnership, after playing with different partners in Denmark and France, in Shanghai.
South Korea’s Jung Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae are another pair making their return after the Olympics.
Wong Mew Choo, the seventh seed, will be defending the title she sensationally won last year but judging from her recent performances, she will find it tough.
She lost to Susan Hughes of Scotland in the opening round in Paris.
Denmark Open champions Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui are the second seeds, behind World No 1 Du Jing-Yu Yang, in the women’s doubles.