TheStar 30th Aug 05

PETALING JAYA: National number one Lee Chong Wei is back among the top four in the world men's singles badminton rankings.

A semi-final appearance in the recent World Championships in the United States has moved the 23-year-old Chong Wei up one rung to number four.

“It feels good to be back among the top four,” said Chong Wei.

The Penangite has not gone higher than number four in the ranking and the players now ahead of him in the list are China's Lin Dan and the Danish duo of Kenneth Jonassen and Peter Gade-Christensen.

World champion and Olympic gold medallist Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia is in sixth spot. Two other Malaysians, Mohd Hafiz Hashim and Wong Choong Hann, remained in eighth and 10th spot respectively.

“It will be tough to reach the number one spot this year. There is a big difference in points between Lin Dan and I. But I will try to break into the top three,” said Chong Wei.

However, Chong Wei, who won the bronze medal in his World Championship debut, will skip the China Masters this week and the Asian Badminton Championships (ABC), which will be played in India from Sept 6-11.

The two-time Malaysian Open champion will make a return to the international arena at the Indonesian Open, which will be played in Jakarta from Sept 19-25.

“I have to stay consistent and do well in international tournaments to remain among the top four in the world rankings,” said Chong Wei.

He will also be looking at striking the SEA Games men's singles gold in Manila at the end of the year.

“I only played in the team event at the last Games (in Vietnam). This time, I can look forward to making a bid for the men's singles gold medal,” he said.

At the 2003 Games, Malaysia won two gold medals through the men's doubles pair of Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and women's singles player Wong Mew Choo. The last Malaysian men's singles gold medallist was Mohd Roslin Hashim in the 2001 edition in Kuala Lumpur.

As in previous SEA Games, the Indonesians are the ones to beat for the gold medals.