Chong Wei eyes eighth consecutive national title

JOHOR BAHARU: World number one and seven-time national champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei has pronounced himself fit and ready to win his eighth consecutive men’s singles title in the National Circuit Grand Prix finals starting at Indoor Stadium here today.

CHONG WEI: An inspiration to the other players in the national badminton squad.

CHONG WEI: An inspiration to the other players in the national badminton squad.

And the fact that Chong Wei was willing to battle it out for the crown even though bigger international assignments await his participation brought cheer to his coach Datuk Misbun Sidek.

“Chong Wei has won so many titles that is the envy of many playing on the international scene, but yet he wants to add the National GP crown to his list.

“That’s the spirit and we need to give him all the moral support instead of entertaining talk that he should skip the finals to allow others to win the crown.

“What he is doing is an inspiration to the others in the current national squad,” said Misbun.

Chong Wei has been drawn in Group A of the four-group competition which features 16 players in the men’s singles that offers RM7,000 to the winner from the RM84,000 total prize money.

He will have Negeri Sembilan’s Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, Melaka’s Syed Akbar Shah Mustakim and Penang’s Ho Khek Mong for company.

The winner of each group will advance into the semi-finals and Kedah’s Tan Chun Seang, Perak’s Chan Kwong Beng, Chong Wei’s sparring partner and Kedah’s Kuan Beng Hong are the expected to make the semis.

In the women’s singles, Lydia Cheah heads the cast since national number one Wong Mew Choo would not be here as she has not competed in enough circuits to earn a ticket to Johor Baharu.

Also missing the championships would be the country’s top men’s doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, leaving veteran pair Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and Mohd Faruzizuan Tazari-Mohd Zakry Latif to fight it out for the title. — Bernama

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