Badminton Life

Tough Draws for Lin and Lee

China's top seed Lin Dan and second-seeded Malaysian Lee Chong Wei have received tough draws for the Beijing Olympics men's singles.

After the draw on July 26, Lin was slated to meet Hong Kong's difficult Ng Wei in the first round. Lee, meanwhile, was given an equally hard opening assignment against Singapore's Ronald Susilo.

Ng, ranked 20th in the world, has never won a major title but reached the quarter-finals of the Thailand Open in June.

Although Lin is expected to win the match, he won't find it easy against the gutsy Hong Kong player, who is probably playing in his last Olympics and is looking to go out with a bang.

Susilo is ranked 32 in the world and is Singapore's number two player. His best recent performance was a quarter-final appearance at June's Indonesian Open. However, he is remembered for knocking Lin out of the Athens Olympics.

Lee is favoured to beat Susilo as he seeks Malaysia's first-ever gold medal in the Olympics but will have to produce his best performance if he is to overcome the Singaporean.

If he defeats the Singaporean, he will face what appears to be an easier match against one of Lithuania's Kestutis Navickas, Spain's Pablo Abian or Russia's Stanislav Pukhov.

If the draw holds true, Lee could face China's world number three Bao Chunlai in the semi-finals.

Lin, however, has a tougher time after his opening match, with a likely second-round clash against South Korea's Asian champion Park Sung-hwan, who is a real danger to any of the top players and is capable of winning a medal.

Lin's compatriot, fourth-seeded Chen Jin, is favoured to reach the last eight with an opening match against New Zealand's John Moody.

Defending champion Taufik Hidayat, of Indonesia, whose form has been up and down over the past few years, has one of the toughest opening matches in the first round against Malaysia's world number 15 Wong Choong Hann.

Wong is also playing in his last Olympics and is more than capable of upsetting any of the top players.

Taufik has never been able to recreate the form that took him to the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics but, on his day, he is a world beater.

The rest of the draw will probably be hoping that Wong does them a favour by eliminating Taufik as early as possible.

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