Malaysia’s Thomas Cup squad will leave for Guangzhou today without skipper and world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.
The 29-year-old Chong Wei had been down with flu and will need a couple of days to recover.
Chong Wei and his coach Tey Seu Bock will join the team on Wednesday.
The Malaysians will train in Guangzhou for five days and then board a train to Wuhan for the Finals from May 20-27.
Leaving today are Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem, Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and coaches Rashid Sidek, Tan Kim Her and Hendrawan.
Yesterday, Chong Wei skipped the team’s final training session at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara but showed up later to explain about his delayed departure.
Hafiz, who is the most experienced member of the team and had been representing the country since the 2002 edition, said Chong Wei’s absence would not dampen the team’s spirit.
“Chong Wei has not been well over the last few days and we understand that he needs a good rest.
“Although he will not be joining us, the important thing is for him to recover,” said Hafiz.
“Yes, we will be short of one member for the next few days but we will not let it pull the team down. All of us know our responsibilities.
“Our team is not the strongest and now, we have to leave without Chong Wei. It may look as though things are not going our way but we are not going to let it affect our focus,” said Hafiz.
“Maybe, this low profile approach to the tournament may do a world of good to us.
“Malaysia always have a chance in team competitions and we will be out to take our chances well. We may look frail outside but inside we are strong and will be banking on our team spirit to pull through.”
The other five contenders for the Cup are four-time champions China, Indonesia, Denmark, South Korea and Japan.
Despite being under the weather, Chong Wei fulfilled his obligations with his sponsors by attending three back-to-back events over the last three days.
Malaysia are looking at a top four finish in Wuhan.