RIO DE JANEIRO: Lee Chong Wei begins his campaign to land the elusive Olympics gold for Malaysia when he takes on Suriname’s Surin Opti in his opening Group A clash on Thursday. The World No 1 will be the first Malaysian shuttler in action at Pavilion 4, Riocentro as he bids to go one better than the silvers medals won at the 2008 and 2012 editions in Beijing and London.
Chong Wei, who was banned for nine months for a doping violation but burst off the blocks following the end of his suspension, has been a picture of confidence in Rio. Drawn to meet nemesis Lin Dan of China – who denied him in the final of the last two Games’ – the Malaysian is determined to end his Olympic career with gold. Chong Wei will play Opti at 8.35pm (Malaysian time) and will complete his group stage against Singapore’s Derek Tan on Sunday. Singles coach Tey Seu Bock said Chong Wei is raring for the action to start after having spend 10 days training in Rio.
“The buildup was good and the 10 days in Rio helped Chong Wei iron out some minor details. Arriving early also meant we were able to train at the competition venue without disturbance as most teams only arrived later,” said Seu Bock. Other Malaysian shuttlers in action on Thursday’s opening day are women’s doubles Vivian Hoo Kah Mun-Woon Khe Wei, who play Britain’s Heather Olver-Lauren Smith of Great Britain (10.55pm) and men’s doubles Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, who face Germany’s Michael Fuchs-Jonhannes Schottle (Friday, 2.55am).
Mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying play Thailand’s Bodin Issara-Savitree Amitrapai (Friday, 3.40am). Danny Chia and Gavin Kyle Green will be involved in a bit of history making when they tee off at the Olympic Course as golf makes a return to the Games after more than a hundred years. Gavin will have Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Belgian Thomas Pieters for company when he tees off at 6.52pm Malaysian time while Danny, in the same flight as Felipe Aguilar of Chile and Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark, gets his campaign underway at 7.25pm Malaysian time. -NST