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Lee Chong Wei Puts Himself in Line for Medal Glory in Beijing

Lee Chong Wei's performance at the Thomas Cup has raised Malaysian hopes of a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing in August, although there are worries about the form of the country's men's doubles teams.

Lee has been a fine ambassador for Malaysia over the past few years, as a player and a personality. He is ranked number two in the world and beat world number one Lin Dan, during Malaysia's 3-2 semi-final loss to China at the Thomas Cup in Jakarta two weeks ago.

The victory helped to boost Lee's confidence and possibly give him a psychological edge should they meet in the Beijing Olympic competition.

Malaysia's national singles coach Misbun Sidek said in the local press that he was amazed at the way Lee showed his class against Lin, who is also the world champion.

However, he warned that the Chinese players will not want to disappoint their home fans at the Olympics.

"I still have goose bumps recalling how Chong Wei defeated Lin Dan. It was a masterful performance," said Misbun. "Chong Wei not only justified his standings as the second best player in the world but he also showed that there is now nothing to separate them.

"Chong Wei must ride on this success and prepare even better for the Olympics. He can surely expect a backlash from the Chinese players now that he has become their target once more."

But Malaysia must also look beyond Lin as there are plenty of top players who have the potential to win gold at the Olympics.

These include Lin's compatriots Bao Chunlai, the world number three and fourth-ranked Chen Jin, the All England singles champion.

Lee can also expect strong challenges from South Korea's Asian champion Park Sung-hwan, Denmark's former world number one Peter Gade-Christensen and Indonesia's defending Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat.

In terms of doubles, Malaysia have concerns about their top two teams' ability to challenge for medals in Beijing.

Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong may have won the All England men's doubles title in 2007 but they have been inconsistent ever since and have yet to regain the form that swept them to victory in Birmingham more than one year ago.

Even the veteran pair of Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah are struggling to play at their best.

This means Malaysia may take the drastic action of dropping one of their top pairs for the Olympics and replacing them with the relatively inexperienced Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari.

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