Badminton Life

Malaysia's Wong Choong Hann Looks For One More Title Before Retirement

Malaysian singles player Wong Choong Hann is determined to win a tournament before his impending retirement.

Wong has not won a major international title in five years and is due to retire from the sport after the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer.

However, before he hangs up his racket, he has seven tournaments in which to lift some silverware, though he is unsure if he will compete in all of them.

The last time he stoop atop of the winners rostrum was at the 2003 Taiwan Open.

"This is my final playing year and it will be nice to have that winning feeling again," Wong told The Star.

World number 15 Wong's potential schedule looks like this - German Open (Feb 26-March 2), All-England (March 4-9), Swiss Open (March 11-16), India Open (April 1-6), Asian Badminton Championships (April 15-20), Singapore Open (July 10-15) and the Indonesian Open (July 17-22).

The German Open is possibly his best chance given the lack of high-ranking opposition. He will be ranked third in that event but he would have to overcome two strong players higher than him, the Koreans Park Sung-hwan and Lee Hyun-il.

Lee is currently on a high after his victory at the recent Korean Open.

"I will probably have a better shot at the German and India Opens. But I am not sure whether I will be going for the German Open," said Wong, who will consult with coach Wong Tat Meng before making a final decision.

"It will be too hectic for me because I will also be competing in the All England and Swiss Open. But five years is a long time and I do not have much time left. Hopefully, I will be able to nail at least one title."

Wong is almost certain to represent Malaysia at the Beijing Olympic Games, and gold there would be a fitting way to end his career.

However, even if he is unable to taste individual glory, Wong still has a chance to reach the summit at the Thomas Cup, which is the pinnacle team event for international badminton.

Malaysia must first take part in the qualifiers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in February, where they are likely to reach the Finals, scheduled for Jakarta from May 11-18.

Wong was part of the Malaysian teams who took gold at the 2005 SEA Games in Manila and the 2006 Commonwealth Games mixed event.

Malaysia has not won the Thomas Cup in 16 years and Wong is keen to make up for his last appearance, two years ago in Tokyo, when he was forced out of the competition because of an Achilles tendon injury.

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