KUALA LUMPUR,. Shuttler Lee Chong Wei’s third and final Commonwealth Games outing will be the hardest.
On paper, Chong Wei is seen as one of the contenders for the men’s singles gold in Gold Coast from April 4-15 but the 35-year-old veteran says it will not be as easy as it looks.
“Everyone is saying that it’s only the Commonwealth Games and I should win it,” said Chong Wei.
“But it’ll be one of the most challenging Games. It’s my last but I’m sure others are not going to make it easy for me – especially the younger players.”
Chong Wei won a double at two previous Games. He won the singles and mixed team events at the 2006 Melbourne and 2010 New Delhi editions.
He missed the action four years ago in Glasgow when the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) decided to send back-up players.
Then, Malaysia failed to win a medal in the men’s singles for the first time since 1990 in Auckland, New Zealand.
The world No. 6’s main challengers in Gold Coast are two Indian players, world No. 2 K. Srikanth and H.S. Prannoy, and 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph of England.
Singapore has named a relatively younger group with Malaysian-born 21-year-old Loh Kean Yew leading the team.
“There are not many competitors but India has good players. I can’t take anyone lightly,” said Chong Wei.
The Malaysian has a 2-2 record against the world No. 12 Prannoy but has not lost to the two other rivals – boasting a 4-0 record over Srikanth and 6-0 over Ouseph.
“The Commonwealth Games is important to Malaysia and I place it second to the Olympic Games. It’s my last Games and I want to enjoy and cherish it,” he added.
Three-time Olympic Games silver medallist Chong Wei is also hoping to help Malaysia win the mixed team gold again. Malaysia won it at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Games.