Badminton: New format would tempt Lee for Tokyo 2020

Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia waits to receive his silver medal on the podium after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games badminton men's singles final on Aug 20, 2016.
Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia waits to receive his silver medal on the podium after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games badminton men's singles final on Aug 20, 2016. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

(AFP) - Malaysia's world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei said a new scoring format could tempt him to extend his career to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and take yet another shot at an elusive badminton gold medal.

The 33-year-old's interest has been piqued by the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) experiments with an 11-point, best-of-five system, instead of the traditional 21-point, best-of-three format.

Lee said fellow veteran Lin Dan of China, a two-time Olympic champion, may also be persuaded to play on under the new system, which is considered less physically demanding and therefore better for older players.

"Nothing is confirmed yet, but if there is indeed a change I could very well compete at the Tokyo Olympics," Lee was quoted as saying by the The Star newspaper on Wednesday.

"Even Lin Dan might play on as the 11-point system would mean shorter matches... which is better for senior players like us.

"We certainly have the experience. Playing in shorter matches is definitely better because I believe we can control the shuttlecock better."

The BWF was not immediately available to comment on the new scoring format, which was trialled last week at an Under-19 event in Malaysia.

Lee had previously said that last month's Rio Olympics, where he finished runner-up for the third Games in a row, would be his last.

Despite failing once again to deliver Malaysia's first-ever gold medal, and a doping ban last year, Lee enjoys superstar status in his home country, where the BWF is based.