Chong Wei: Thomas Cup squad may struggle to qualify

KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has delivered the cold hard truth regarding Malaysia’s Thomas Cup squad: “We are simply not good enough.”

Besides four-time Thomas Cupper Chong Wei, the other men’s singles in the squad are Liew Daren, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and the surprise recall of KLRC’s Mohd Hafiz Hashim in second singles.

The men’s doubles will have Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah, Hoon Thien How and Teo Kok Siang.

Thien How and Kok Siang are only just recovering from injuries.

Read all about it: Lee Chong Wei posing with his book ‘Dare to be Champion’ at the Kuala Lumpur Sports Arena.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong have traditionally delivered the goods but they have been troubled by poor form lately, with the latest embarrassment being a second round exit in the Malaysia Open at the hands of fourth ranked Korean pair Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang.

The second doubles of V Shem-Khim Wah too have been finding consistency hard to come by, in particular the latter and the pair could be split up in order to pair V Shem with Kok Siang.

It is, however, in men’s singles that Malaysia’s lack of depth has been severely exposed and the recall of Hafiz sums it all up.

And Chong Wei, fresh from winning his eighth Malaysia Open title, admitted that the current squad is definitely weak, but he is ready to shoulder the burden.

“This year is certainly a big one with the Olympics in July being my main priority,” said the 29-year-old Penangite.

“The Thomas Cup squad is definitely weak and we may struggle to qualify but as the senior player in the squad, I am ready to shoulder the responsibility of leading the team.”

The Thomas Cup qualifiers will be held in Macau next month.

Chong Wei, who also won the Korean Open earlier this month, added that winning a third straight All England title would represent his best possible start in the year but it will not be easy.

“Winning in Korea and the Malaysia Open last week has certainly raised my spirits and confidence and it would be nice to win the All England for the third time.

“But it won’t be easy because the Chinese players have been studying my game and will certainly bounce back stronger,” Chong Wei said after the launch of his autobiography titled “Dare to be a Champion” at the Kuala Lumpur Sports Arena.

“The title of the book is supposed to tell a message that even though I’ve tasted numerous defeats in my career, I never give up.

“It also documents my journey from the junior level to where I am today. Hopefully, it will inspire the younger players to strive and perform better.”

Among the guests of honour at the book launch were National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong, National Sports Institute (NSI) chief executive officer Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz and former Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

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