KUALA LUMPUR (July 17): National badminton ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei has a chance to redeem last year's disappointment in the BWF World Championship, as he once again meets Brice Leverdez in the first round of this year’s edition in Nanjing, China, at the end of the month.
Chong Wei has to beat the Frenchman in the first round to meet Wang Tzu Wei of Taiwan or Jason Ho-Shue of Canada in the second, before taking on Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia who is the 12th seed of the tournament, in the third round.
Based on the draw by the World Badminton Federation (BWF) today, Chong Wei may face fifth seed Srikanth Kidambi of India or another young player from Indonesia, Jonatan Christie, in the quarter-final.
Chong Wei's true test would be in the semi-final against either Kento Momota of Japan or fourth-seed Son Wan Ho of South Korea.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) secretary-general Datuk Ng Chin Chai said although Chong Wei had crashed out of the first round last year, he was confident with the player’s ability to do well this time around.
Chong Wei has won the silver medal in the prestigious tournament three times, namely in 2011, 2013 and 2015, besides a bronze in 2005.
Meanwhile, defending champion Viktor Axelsen, who is also the tournament's top seed, is expected to face stiff competition from Chinese ace Chen Long in the quarter-final.
A win there for Axelsen would set up a semi-final against either Shi Yuqi or Lin Dan, both also from China.
Malaysia will also send three men's doubles, namely Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and Aaron Chia-Wooi Yik Soh; two women's doubles — Vivian Hoo-Woo Khe Wei, Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean, as well as three mixed doubles pairs — Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai, Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying.
Ng said this was the largest participation from the country at the world championship, which showed that the players’ performance was improving.