Malaysia’s ace shuttler and World Number One, Lee Chong Wei is optimistic for a good show from the men’s team in the Thomas Cup Qualifying Round, which is scheduled from February 13-19 in Macau.
Chong Wei said that team spirit will play a key role to earn success against Korean shuttlers, who are the second seeds in the tournament. Beating Korea will ensure Malaysia a ticket to the prestigious badminton tournament, Thomas Cup Finals, which will be held in China, in May.
Malaysia has been placed in Group D along with Hong Kong and South Korea. To overpower Hong Kong will not be a problem for Malaysian players but they also need to prove their supremacy against Korean opponents to qualify for Finals.
However, it is an uphill task for Malaysian team, which is undeniably the weakest team as compared to all Malaysian squads in the past and has scanty chances to make the cut for Finals.
Nevertheless, Chong Wei is hopeful that if Malaysian players show team spirit then they have a chance to pull through against the Korean rivals.
Chong Wei will play the opening Men’s Singles fight against Lee Hyun Il and is expected to win it as he is in his prime form. However, in the Men’s Doubles department, Koreans are superior to Malaysian players on paper.
While talking about the strength of current team, Chong Wei said that it is not a strong squad but if all shuttler remain united then results can go in their favour.
He said, “I am aware that we do not have a strong squad, but we have nothing to lose and I am hoping for some strong team spirit to pull ourselves through. We will go out there and try our very best to qualify for the Thomas Cup Finals.”
He further added, “As for the match against the Koreans, I hope we can pull through with one point from singles and two more from the doubles pairs.”
Chong Wei is expected to put pressure on Koreans by winning the first singles contest which will help the other Malaysian shuttlers to deliver better performance in the later fights.