Badminton Life

Lee Chong Wei Faces Singapore Test

Malaysian Lee Chong Wei has emerged as a favourite for the men's singles gold medal after he helped Malaysia to the semi-finals of the recent Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta Indonesia.

His victory over China's Lin Dan, in Malaysia's 3-2 semi-final defeat, established him as the player others would love to avoid in Beijing this summer.

However, the world number two faces a major test of mettle when he takes part in the Singapore Open and then possibly the Indonesian Open, the last two major events before the Olympics.

Top-seeded Lee has been told by his coach Misbun Sidek that winning the two tournaments is not his major goal but to assess his form and identify any weak points.

"I want to monitor his form, fitness level and also his mental strength," Misbun told local media. "He had a good outing in the Thomas Cup Finals last month and I want to see him improve on his game further. He has to find out what are the weaknesses that need to be rectified before the Olympics."

Lee's presence in Indonesia the following week will depend on how he performs at the Singapore Open. The better he does in Singapore, the less likely he is to play in Indonesia.

Said Misbun: "It will depend on his form in Singapore. If he does well and goes all the way to the final, I will withdraw him from the Indonesian Open. But if it is an early exit, then we need to go to Indonesia because he needs the matches to fine tune his game."

Lee has an opening-game clash against Japan's Sho Sasaki in Singapore and may end up having to face compatriots Wong Choong Hann and Mohd Hafiz Hashim. Also on his side of the draw are Denmark's former world number one Peter Gade-Christensen and Chinese ace Chen Yu.

Meanwhile, there is still concern in the Malaysian camp over doubles player Koo Kien Keat, who suffered cuts to his hand and required 20 stitches after a freak accident.

Koo and his partner Tan Boon Heong have been withdrawn from Singapore and Indonesia because the former has been told to rest for 10 days.

He injured his hand when a glass partition he was leaning on suddenly shattered. Medical staff are now working overtime to make sure he is okay for the Olympics in August.

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