Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian media reported on Tuesday that men’s singles coach Hendrawan of Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) did not want to name Lee Chong Wei for the Badminton Asia Team Championship (BATC) squad that will compete in Hyderabad, India from Feb. 15 to Feb. 22.
Since the tournament will serve as Asia qualifying rounds for Thomas & Uber Cups finals in May, former national singles Coach Rashid Sidek admitted the absence of Lee could possibly reduce the odds for Malaysia to qualify for the Thomas Cup finals in Kunshan, China.
“Although not impossible, Malaysia will face stiffer challenges against strong teams like India, Japan and South Korea in the Championship,” said Rashid.
Rashid believed there were some truly legitimate reasons for excluding Lee Chong Wei from the BATC, because the current World No. 5 is aiming to clinch Malaysia’s first ever gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in August.
Although Japan – the Thomas Cup defending champions Japan, and China – host for this year’s Thomas Cup have qualified automatically for the Thomas Cup Finals in May, but they have decided to play in the Championship in Hyderabad.