Asian Games: Badminton legend Lee sails through first match

Asian Games: Badminton legend Lee sails through first match
File photo of Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei

INCHEON, South Korea - Malaysia's world badminton number one Lee Chong-Wei breezed through his first match in Incheon Sunday at the start of his Asian Games swansong.

He took just 25 minutes to see off Nepal's Ratna Jit Tamang 21-10 21-13 in the men's team event - but after the match Lee said the bright lights in the stadium had been a problem.

"This was my first match and I just wanted to try out how I felt.

"I think this court is very bad for me because the light is not so good.

"Normally there are only lights side to side (at either end), but here you have them all around so you are looking into the light. I think it's tough for all the players," Lee told AFP.

Despite his gripe, the usually tight-lipped Malaysian star seemed more relaxed than usual.

"I'm just going to do my best and enjoy my last Asian Games," he said, hoping that a good performance in the team event would pave the way for a win in the individuals.

Fans want to see another classic between Lee and nemesis Lin Dan - the 30-year-old Chinese star, who has repeatedly denied Lee at the Games as well as at the Olympics and the world championships.

But Lee remained philosophical about the pressure on him to take the gold and dispel his reputation for falling at the final hurdle in major tournaments.

"It doesn't upset me (that people say I don't win major tournaments). It's different in other countries because in China there are a lot of people (players). In Malaysia I'm alone, so it's very tough for me." During the first game in Lee's match against Tamang, Lin was watching from the front row as his teammate Chen Long played on the neighbouring court in his team clash with Hong Kong's Nan Wei.

Lin is to play later Sunday in a team singles match against Hong Kong's Vincent Wong.

All eyes will be on the main men's singles draw Sunday to see whether a clash of the titans between Lin and Lee is on the cards.

Speaking after his defeat by Lee, Nepal's Tamang also said the lighting was a problem.

"It's very bright and difficult to see the shuttlecock," he said.

But for the 21-year-old, who is at his second Asian Games and had never played Lee, it was an unforgettable experience.

"I wasn't nervous, I was just excited to play him. It made me want to work harder to get to that level," he told AFP.

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