Saturday, August 13

Chong Wei eyes perfect home run against nemesis Lin Dan


KUALA LUMPUR: World number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei who is expected to face his nemesis Lin Dan of China at some stage of the Thomas Cup final, wants to maintain his unbeaten home record against the Olympic and World champion.

UNBEATEN RECORD AT HOME: Chong Wei during a practice session at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil. — Bernama photo

UNBEATEN RECORD AT HOME: Chong Wei during a practice session at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil. — Bernama photo

“So far, I have not lost to Lin Dan in Malaysia, and I want to maintain that record in the Thomas Cup final,” he told reporters after being appointed as Samsung’s product ambassador here yesterday.

“Playing at home will certainly be an added advantage but the pressure will remain the same. We must transform the pressure into a competitive tool and not lose confidence.”

Samsung Malaysia Electronics (SME) Sdn Bhd yesterday announced Chong Wei, 28, as their product ambassador, since his position as the world number would become an inspiration to the people of Malaysia, just like Samsung products.

Chong Wei had lost to Lin Dan on numerous occasions, including the Beijing Olympics final in 2008, but has managed to hold a tight grip on home soil.

The South Korean company is also one of the official display sponsor for the Thomas and Uber Cup Final that starts from tomorrow to May 16 at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

“Now it is not about physical preparations or emphasis on skill but everything to do with focus since the competition is only two days away. The Thomas Cup is not an individual event but a team event that needs a solid team work from all players,” said Chong Wei.

He added that it was personal ambition to help Malaysia win the Thomas Cup.

“I played very well during the All England championships but the Thomas Cup is a different ball game. It is important to win points for the country,” he said.

Chong Wei said he was informed that his coach Datuk Misbun Sidek would return and join the team tomorrow.

“I was told that Misbun will be back on Sunday but if he fails to show up when the game starts, I will have to continue the battle without him and keep my concentration on the match,” he said.

Apart from Chong Wei, Malaysia’s Thomas Cup hopes will also hinge on Wong Choong Hann, Hafiz Hashim, Tan Chung Seang (singles), Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong, Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif/Mohd Fairuzizuan Tazari, Hoon Thien How-Ong Soon Hock (doubles).

Chong Wei, appointed as the Malaysian team skipper said his main task would be to enhance the relationship among the team members through various initiatives, including having lunch together on match day.

“Since we go for training on the same bus, train together, stay at the same hostel and eat together, there is already a close bond among the players but I hope to further strengthen that bond,” he said.

Malaysia, drawn in Group B, face Nigeria on May 9 and Japan on May 11 before a probable face off against China later. — Bernama