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India Open Superseries 2017: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei pulls out

1.60K   //    24 Mar 2017, 15:32 IST
Lee Chong Wei All England
Lee Chong Wei won the All England Open earlier this month

What's the story?

Much to the disappointment of Indian badminton fans, the top seed and World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has pulled out of the India Open Superseries tournament scheduled to be held in New Delhi from March 28-April 2. The 34-year-old Malaysian won his fourth All England Championships title this month and wants to rest his body before starting the defence of his title at his home tournament -  the Malaysia Open Superseries Premier that starts on April 4. 

Malaysia's national coach Tey Seu Bock has confirmed to The Star Online that the All England Open victory took a toll on the World No. 1's body and right now he is not in his best shape.

“We pulled Chong Wei out of the Indian Open based on his form in training. The All-England victory took a toll on him," Bock said, adding, "He’s not at his best right now. An extra week of training will give Chong Wei the time to be ready for the home tournament."

Lee Chong Wei has won the India Open three times and was supposed to begin his campaign against Denmark’s World No. 18 Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus.

In case you didn't know...

The India Open has been held every year since 2008, the first three editions of which were designated as Grand Prix Gold. Kidambi Srikanth is the only Indian men’s singles champion in the nine-year history of the tournament.

The heart of the matter

In spite of Lee Chong Wei’s withdrawal, there will still be a competitive field at the India Open Superseries. There will be six of the current top-10 players vying for the men’s singles title that includes the two Danish superstars, Jan O Jorgensen and Viktor Axelsen. Besides them, there are five Indians in the main draw in this category led by the 2015 champion Kidambi Srikanth.

Also read: Jwala Gutta promises to promote female sportspersons of India after SAI induction

What's next?

Lee will next be seen in action at the Malaysia Open Superseries Premier, scheduled from April 4-9. Lee and his biggest nemesis, Lin Dan will reprise their rivalry there which makes it a much-awaited tournament. The two-time Olympic gold medal-winning Chinese too has shown some good form of late and won the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold this month.

Author's take

Even though Lee Chong Wei’s decision will rob his Indian fans a chance to see him live in action, it is perfectly understandable. At 34, priority should be to give the body ample rest in between elite tournaments. Lee still has a few years at the top and the pull-out was always on the cards, especially with his home tournament coming up next.