Badminton Life

Lee Chong Wei Has Triple Target

Malaysia's number one player Lee Chong Wei has three targets at the Asian Badminton Championships, not all of them sporting glory - he wants to reach at least the semi-finals, gauge his potential Thomas Cup opponents and be a role model.

The ABC is being held in Johor Bahru in the southern part of Malaysia and Lee, who is ranked number two in the world, is hoping to make an impact in more ways than one.

On a personal note, he wants to at least reach the last four to justify his second seeding behind China's world number one Lin Dan.

He also wants to check out players such as Lin and others to assess how well they are playing ahead of next month's Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta. Lin and his Chinese team are defending Thomas Cup champions.

And finally, he wants to display exceptional sportsmanship, especially at a time when badminton is under the spotlight for controversial behaviour by players.

Apart from Lee and Lin, the tournament will feature South Korean Lee Hyun-il and Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana, who won the recent Indian Open.

Lee told local media: "All my probable opponents in the Thomas Cup Finals will be here. Some of them may try out new approaches. I will keep a watch on them.

"I may cross path against some of them here. It will all depend on the draw. As this ABC is the last tournament before the Finals, it is best that I know their current performances. I do not think anyone will hold their punches here."

Lee is a previous Asian champion, having emerged as the winner in 2006, and is keen to land another title.

"I want to take it easy in this ABC meet but that does not mean that I want to lose in the early rounds. I want to be consistent and it will be a bonus if I can go all the way to win it," said Lee.

In terms of behavior, Lee is aware of the controversy surrounding Lin, who was alleged to have hit his coach during a training session. Lin denies the incident but Lee wants to do something to restore badminton's image.

"I do not know whether he (Lin Dan) did it or not. Sometime, the pressure could be so great that players react angrily. For me, I always strive to be perfect with my shots. And I can get upset if I don't do well," said Lee.

"But this is something that the badminton players need to be careful with it. Some of the top athletes from other sports like Tiger Woods (golf), Roger Federer (tennis) have been great ambassadors of their respective sport.

"I want to do well in the ABC but at the same time, I do not want to bring disrepute to the sport."

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