Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Good times set to roll on

KUALA LUMPUR: Glory days beckon for Malaysian badminton again.
Lee Chong Wei was given the green light to play competitively again after a seven-month absence due to a doping violation.

Chong Wei’s non-appearance proved to be a bane with Malaysia groping in the dark searching for a winner.

Four legs of this season’s prestigious Superseries circuit have been contested to date with the Malaysians all knocked out in the early rounds.

Chong Wei was a winner of six men’s singles titles in 2013 and four in 2014, making him the most successful sportsman in the country.

National coach Hendrawan believes the 32-year-old Chong Wei has the character to reach the top again.

“Chong Wei will catch up soon although his rivals are one step ahead of him now. He will bounce back and bring cheers to the country again,” said Hendrawan.

The former Indonesian world champion was recently appointed by Badminton Association of Malaysia technical director Morten Frost to coach Chong Wei. The others under Hendrawan’s guidance are Liew Daren, Chean June Wei and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin. Chong Wei was previously under Tey Seu Bock.

“Indonesian doubles shuttler Sigit Budiarto was banned for two years after he tested positive for a banned substance at the 1998 Singapore Open. He came back strongly and was in the same team with me that won the 2002 Thomas Cup title. I expect Chong Wei to return strongly, too,” said Hendrawan.

He added that he would sit down with Chong Wei to plan his itinerary for the season.
“Chong Wei is not getting any younger. He has been out of tournaments for seven months now. It’s important for us to plan carefully. We’ve to be selective of the tournaments.
“When Morten assigned me to coach Chong Wei, he set two goals for me – to help him win a world title and become an Olympic champion.

“Right now, we need to review his training programme. We will choose some of the Superseries tournaments to compete in with the focus on major championships. It is my job to help him realise the dream of becoming a world and Olympic champion.”

Chong Wei’s first assignment is the Sudirman Cup mixed team championships in Dongguan, China, from May 10-17. It will be followed by the Singapore SEA Games in June. The biggest challenge for Chong Wei is the World Championships in Jakarta from Aug 10-16.

 by Rajes Paul - The Star

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