KUALA LUMPUR: National singles shuttler Lee Tsuen Seng's dream of playing in the Olympic Games is long gone. Now, on a wing and a prayer, he's eyeing a berth in the national team for the Thomas Cup Finals from May 7-16 in Jakarta.

The world number 36th ranked Tsuen Seng hopes he will be considered for the team if Malaysia opt to name five singles players for the Finals.

Four players certain to make the team are Wong Choong Hann, Lee Chong Wei and the Hashim brothers – Roslin and Hafiz.

“Whatever chances I have for the Olympics Games are gone when I skipped the recent Korean and Japan Opens. Now I am hoping to make my second appearance in the team for the Thomas Cup Finals,” said the 25-year-old Tsuen Seng.

If national singles chief coach Misbun Sidek names five singles players, Tsuen Seng will be strongly challenged for the spot by Kuan Beng Hong and Yeoh Kay Bin.

Beng Hong was given a chance to prove himself when he was named ahead of Hafiz in the Thomas Cup Asian Zone qualifying tournament in Malaysia last February. The youngster froze in the final against China. (He lost 4-15, 9-14 in 30 minutes to Bao Chunlai).

Kay Bin has never represented Malaysia in a major tournament.

Tsuen Seng has the experience of having played in team events. Two years ago, Tsuen Seng, who played the second singles, upset Taufik Hidayat to put Malaysia 2-1 up against Indonesia in the final of the Thomas Cup in Guangzhou. But Malaysia eventually lost 2-3.

Besides vying for a place in the Thomas Cup Finals, Tsuen Seng has vowed to do well in the Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) from April 20-25 at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium.

“The squad to Jakarta will be named before the ABC. After skipping the Korean and Japan Opens, I am now gearing up for the ABC.

“I have never gone beyond the quarter-finals in the ABC, and hopefully, I will be able to clear that hurdle,” said Tsuen Seng.

“It has not been a good outing for me last year. I did better in the All-England and Swiss Open and hopefully, I will be able to regain my confidence with a good showing in this Asian meet.”

Except for the quarter-final finish in the last year's All-England, Indonesian Open and the ABC, Tsuen Seng has crashed out in the early rounds of all his other Open outings.


TheStar