Badminton Life

Lee Chong Wei Rises to World Number One

It is every professional athlete's ambition to become number one in his or her chosen sport.

While Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei will be delighted that he is now the new number one in the world in men's singles badminton, it won't make up for his Olympic final defeat to the man he has dethroned in the rankings.

After two years at the top, China's Olympic champion Lin Dan has dropped to number two in the official Badminton World Federation rankings, to be replaced by Lee.

However, Lee would probably not mind one bit if the two could reverse roles, with Lin staying as number one and the Malaysian having an Olympic gold.

As it is, Lee has to be satisfied with his number one ranking and the silver medal he received after losing to Lin in two games in the Beijing final last month.

While being ranked the best player in your sport is no mean feat, Lee would probably appreciate it much later in his career. At the moment, it is a mere consolation.

Not that Lee is undeserving. He beat Lin in a highly competitive Thomas Cup match in Jakarta in May but was unable to reproduce that form in Beijing and Lin swept to victory to the delight of his home fans.

The fact that Lin has only played a handful of tournaments compared to Lee also contributed to his downgrade.

Lee, now recognised with the royal seal of a Datuk in Malaysia, has been one of the best and most consistent players on the circuit over the past one year.

He has won four titles and was runner-up in another four, while Lin Dan picked up five wins and two second places over the same period.

It is Lee's third stint as world number one, having held the position for one month in June, 2006 before Lin regained the mantle.

Lin himself was only able to hold on to the position for one month as well, allowing Lee to return to the top. But the Chinese star took it back in September, 2006 and held it until last week.

Lin could regain the top ranking if he chooses to take part in the Japan Open later this month and win the tournament.

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