Badminton: Lee Chong Wei will play only in team event for Malaysia in SEA Games

Malaysian badminton player Lee Chong Wei speaking during a press conference in Putrajaya on April 27, 2015. The twice Olympic silver medallist will feature only in the men's team event for next month's SEA Games. -- PHOTO: EPA
Malaysian badminton player Lee Chong Wei speaking during a press conference in Putrajaya on April 27, 2015. The twice Olympic silver medallist will feature only in the men's team event for next month's SEA Games. -- PHOTO: EPA

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia have named 15-year-old shuttler Goh Jin Wei and former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in their badminton squad for next month's SEA Games.

However, twice Olympic silver medallist Lee will feature only in the men's team event.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) bosses want Lee, who will return to competition on Sunday following an eight-month doping ban, to play singles elsewhere.

"We're planning to send him to the US Open (June 16-21)," BAM technical director Morten Frost was quoted as saying by The Star yesterday.

"There is a clash of dates and we've to take into account the travelling time and jet lag."

The US Open will provide Lee, 32, with an opportunity to earn vital ranking points and help him move up from his position of 45th in the world.

The lowly ranking due to his suspension has left him as the third-rated Malaysian, with the country allocated only two spots at the World Championships in August.

World No. 31 Chong Wei Feng and 41st-ranked Zulfadli Zulkiffli occupy the top two positions but Malaysian Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Lee should be selected.

"I will leave it to the BAM to decide. I will not intervene," he added. "But Chong Wei is still the best in the country.

"He has to be there.

"We all know the reason he didn't qualify. He would have qualified if he had not been out of action for eight months.

"But we've to play by the rules of the game. The top two players are Wei Feng and Zulfadli and it's unfair if they don't get to go."

REUTERS