Badminton: Lee Chong Wei willing to pay BWF fine for skipping tournaments

Lee Chong Wei indicated that he would be focusing more on the World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Thomas Cup, Asian Games and All-England Open.
Lee Chong Wei indicated that he would be focusing more on the World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Thomas Cup, Asian Games and All-England Open.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) - Malaysian badminton ace Lee Chong Wei is taking into consideration his age and physical stamina in deciding whether or not to compete in certain tournaments organised by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

He said he was willing to pay a fine for failing to participate in any of the tournaments.

The world No. 2 indicated that he would be focusing more on the World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Thomas Cup, Asian Games and All-England Open.

Lee crashed out of the Malaysian Masters first round in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur along with other top-ranked players including Chen Long (No. 4) and Lin Dan (No. 6) of China, and South Korean Son Wan Ho (No. 5).

"I will discuss with the Badminton Association (of Malaysia), and if I have to pay a fine, I will. I am not 25 but 35 this year. Actually, I and some of the other players are resting now and preparing for the All England in March.

"BWF has issued the rule and we have to abide by it," Lee said after losing his first-round match to Japan's Kenta Nishimoto (world No. 29) in three games on Wednesday (June 17).

Under BWF's new event structure, it is compulsory for the world's top 15 men's singles players and top 10 men's doubles pairs to compete in 12 tournaments a year, that is, three at Level 2, five at Level 3, and four at Level 4 respectively.

The Malaysian Masters is a Level 4 tournament, offering a combined prize money of US$350,000 (S$463,000). The only Level 1 tournament is the season-ending World Tour Finals.

He attributed their poor showing at the championship to BWF's new rule. Because of the new structure, he said, players could not give their full commitment to the tournament as they were bogged down with a full schedule.

Five-time world champion Lin Dan concurred, saying players would rather concentrate on the major championships.

Realistically, the Chinese two-time Olympic champion noted, no player would be able to maintain their excellence in all of the tournaments.

Meanwhile world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark said the new rule would disrupt the fitness of players as there were too many tournaments for them to compete in during the beggining part of the year.

He said it was crucial for the players to take care of their physical and mental health to maintain their competitiveness.

"I must say there are lots of tournaments to participate and we need time to practise. In fact, we have a few tournaments in a row this month.

"Due to too many tournaments, I believe many top players cannot perform because we don't have enough time to train," he said.