KUALA LUMPUR: The draw for the World Badminton Championships is done – and Lee Chong Wei (pic) has got the short end of the stick.
The world No. 2 will probably have to get past three shuttlers from China before he can get his hands on his first world title in Glasgow, Scotland.
The world meet will be held from Aug 21-27.
The three-time Olympic silver medallist, who also finished runner-up three times at the world meet – 2011, 2013 and 2015 – has an easy start after being drawn to meet France’s Brice Leverdez.
The real test for Chong Wei starts in the third round, where he is tipped to meet world No. 11 Tian Houwei of China.
Reigning world champion and Olympic gold medallist Chen Long, also of China, awaits him in the quarter-finals while Denmark’s world No. 3 Viktor Axelsen looms large in the last four.
Chong Wei’s nemesis – five-time world champion and seventh seed Lin Dan – is in the opposite half of the draw with world No. 1 Son Wan-ho of South Korea, world No. 4 Shi Yuqi of China and the in-form K. Srikanth of India.
If Lin Dan and Chong Wei make it to the final, fans can expect a cracker of a showdown.
This is despite the fact that Penangite Chong Wei has a dismal 12-27 record against Lin Dan and also to the Chinese ace in the finals of the 2011 and 2013 editions of the world meet.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria is confident that Chong Wei can end Malaysia’s long wait for a badminton world champion.
“Having seen diving and cycling produce world champions this year, badminton definitely wants to have a world champion too,” said Norza.
“I certainly believe that Chong Wei, men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and mixed doubles pair Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing can end our wait this year.
“Looking at the draw, it is tough. But I’ve told the players that they cannot rely on the luck of the draw at the world meet.
“If they want to be champions, they have to take on the best.