By RAJES PAUL
World number one men singles shuttler Lee Chong Wei is going for a perfect 10 at the National Grand Prix Finals which begin tomorrow at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara.
But after that, his fans will not get a chance to catch him in action in local tournaments anymore.
“This will be my last local tournament and I am looking forward to winning my 10th national title. But 10 is enough for me,” said Chong Wei.
Last fling: Lee Chong Wei will be making his final appearance in the local circuit during the National Grand Prix Finals in Kuala Lumpur this week.
With no one good enough to break his stranglehold, top seed Chong Wei is the heavy favourite to lift his 10th national crown – a record, which will be quite impossible to break by the future generation of players.
Even though he has been ill with flu and fever and has stayed out of training for three days last week, Chong Wei should win the title that he has won since 2002, hands down.
The final of the premier local event is on Saturday. And as soon as he accomplished his mission, he will have to rush to catch a flight to Denmark for the Premier Super Series event in Odense.
The 29-year-old Chong Wei said that he had given total commitment to play in local and international tournaments over the last decade. And the time has arrived for him to move away so that others could make their mark in the local arena.
“It is not easy to juggle my time between the local and international tournaments. The schedule can be hectic sometimes. To me, both are important but the time has come for me to let go of one,” said Chong Wei.
“London Olympic Games is my priority tournament next year. I have decided not to play in any local tournaments next year.”
Chong Wei hopes that the second stringers like Liew Daren, Chan Kwong Beng, Chong Wei Feng, Goh Soon Huat, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif can give him a good fight in his last local tournament.
“This is their last chance to push me to the limit in a local tournament. I hope they will go the extra mile,” said Chong Wei.
“I have noticed that some of our back-up players have shown improvement in the last few Open tournaments. Liew Daren defeated Simon Santoso while Chan Kwong Beng upset Sony Dwi Kuncoro at the Indonesia Grand Prix Gold. I hope that their displays are not a one-off thing.
“They must build on this confidence and persevere on. The BAM (Badminton Association of Malaysia) are giving these back-up players more opportunities to compete now. So, they must take their chances well.”
In the GP Finals, Chong Wei is in Group A with Lok Chong Chieh, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Chong Yee Han and he will take on the winner of Group C in the semi-finals. Those in Group C are Arif, Misbun Ramdan Misbun, Yeoh Kay Bin and Goh Giap Chin.
The other semi-final will be between the top finishers from Group B and Group D respectively.
In Group B are Daren, Soon Huat, Mohd Syawal Ismail and Tan Kian Meng. In Group D are Wei Feng, Kwong Beng, Loh Wei Sheng and Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayup.
Courtesy of The Star