Kuala Lumpur: Do you know what Lee and Li have in common? Although they are spelled differently, they actually share the same meaning and refer to the same Chinese and Korean Hanja character – 李.
Coincidently, three shuttlers with the same 李 surname notably badminton superstar from Malaysia – world number one men’s singles player Lee Chong Wei, 2012 London Olympics women’s singles gold medalists Li Xuerui of China, and world’s number one men’s doubles player Lee Yong-dae of Korea, experienced their World Championships disappointment in Copenhagen two weeks ago. The good news is, they’ll get their golden chance of redemption at the 17th Asian Games that will take place over 16 days in Incheon, Korea, from September 19 to October 4, 2014.
Lee Chong Wei
With only one week left before the start of the Asian Games, Lee Chong Wei’s coach – Tey Seu Bock said the world number one remained focused and has been working to improve his mental toughness.
“Chong Wei is preparing well for the Asian Games. We were caught off guard at the World Championships final when Chen Long suddenly changed his playing style. We thought only Lin Dan is capable of pulling off such a drastic change of tactics, obviously, Chen Long can now do it too,” said Seu Bock.
“We will be more prepared and pay closer attention to the Chinese players this time”, added Seu Bock.
Lee Chong Wei will clash with Chen Long again in the men’s team event semi-finals.
In the women`s singles, 23-year-old Li will also be hoping to bounce back with an Asian Games title after her shock three-set defeat to Spain`s Carolina Marin in the Copenhagen World Championships.
Defending Asian Games champion and world number two Wang Shixian represents the biggest threat to her Chinese compatriot Li`s hopes of victory in Incheon.
However, Li will also have to overcome obstacles from other women’s singles players such as Sung Ji-hyun and Bae Yeon-ju of South Korea, P.V. Sidhu along with Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal of India before winning the title.
When your parents give you a name like “Big Dragon” (Yong-dae means “Big Dragon” in Korea) chances are they expect great things from you. South Korea`s top badminton player Lee Yong-dae will try to win “big” in Incheon.
South Korea’s world number one men’s doubles pair – Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong battled for one hour and 21 minutes before going down 20-22, 23-21, 18-21 to compatriots Sung-hyun-Shin Baek-cheol in a thrilling men’s doubles final at the World Championships in Copenhagen two weeks ago. However, the world`s number one-ranked pair are expected to go one better on home soil with their stiffest opposition likely to come from Indonesia`s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, who pulled out of the world championships due to injury.
Lee won the mixed doubles crown as a 20-year-old at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with Lee Hyo-jung, now aims to grab his first Asian Games gold after settling for silver and bronze medals in Guangzhou in 2010 and Doha four years earlier.
“This is my third Asian Games and probably my last,” he told local media. “I’ve always felt sad that I haven’t managed to win gold at the Asian Games, but I will try to make my dream come truth this time,” said the handsome Lee Yong-dae.