Lee injury hits Malaysia at Thomas Cup
World number one Lee Chong Wei will be out for up to a month after
tearing an ankle tendon at the Thomas Cup Tuesday, seriously denting the
Malaysian star's bid for a first Olympic gold medal.
Lee landed awkwardly just moments into the first match of a group tie
against Denmark and was taken to hospital for what was confirmed later
as a torn ankle tendon as Malaysia lost 3-2 in Wuhan.
"He will be out for about three to four weeks," said Tey Seu Bock,
Malaysia's singles coach, adding the player would return early Wednesday
morning to Malaysia for another MRI scan. In the evening tie, home
favourites China romped to victory against Indonesia 5-0, with Lee's
arch-rival Lin Dan looking sharp against Simon Santoso, beating the
world number nine 21-10 21-17.
"Our biggest enemy is not each other but injury," said world number
two Lin, who took gold ahead of Malaysia's Lee at the Beijing Olympics
four years ago. "We are not so young any more and in the future injuries
will happen more and more. We don't have so much time left," said the
28-year-old Lin, the game's most decorated player, about his 29-year-old
opponent. Lin enjoyed rapturous support from a packed Wuhan stadium,
where spectators were also captivated by an epic match lasting more than
an hour in the women's Uber Cup between Taiwan and Thailand, nicked by
Taiwan 21-19, 17-21, 26-24.
In the men's Thomas Cup, China qualify with Indonesia from Group A
for the knockout stages, with the top two teams from each of the
three-team groups progressing. Despite losing the tie against Denmark,
Malaysia have also advanced.
Malaysia's 33rd-ranked Daren Liew gave his country a glimmer of hope
after the Lee injury blow when he pulled off a surprise 21-15, 21-13
victory over world number 13 Jan O Jorgensen, but the Danes were too
strong in the doubles. "I knew Lee was out so it gave me extra
motivation to win for Malaysia," Liew said.
In the other Thomas Cup ties South Korea won a close encounter with
Germany 3-2, with both nations going through to the knockouts, while
Japan eased past Russia 5-0.
In the women's Uber Cup, China also played Indonesia and made equally
light work of their usually powerful opponents, 5-0.
World number one Wang Yihan was charging to her team's first win of
the night before opponent Maria Febe Kusumastuti retired with a shoulder
injury at 21-10, 11-3. "I was so happy the crowd applauded the men and
the women," said Wang, who strutted around on the court next to Lin's
and punched the air after every point she won.
Both China and Indonesia go through to the next stage, joined by
Japan and Denmark, who contested a tight tie that eventually went to the
Reigning champions South Korea whipped Germany 5-0 to send a clear
message to the Chinese that they would not renounce their crown easily.
aiwan beat Thailand 3-2. AFP