Badminton: Malaysia's Lee faces challenge for world title

Badminton: Malaysia's Lee faces challenge for world title

KUALA LUMPUR - Indonesian Simon Santoso's last-minute entry into the BWF World Championships 2014 could prove a stumbling block in Malaysian shuttler Lee Chong Wei's quest for men's singles glory, badminton's governing body said Monday.

Lee, silver medallist at the last two BWF World Championships, is keen to claim his maiden world title in the absence of perennial nemesis and five-time champion Lin Dan of China.

Lin Dan's non-qualification for this championship means there will be a new king in men's singles.

Since China's Chen Jin and Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia have retired there will be no former champions in the competition.

A late-breaking change and Monday's draw by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) threw some potential hazards in Lee's path.

Returning from an injury lay-off, Lee, who is world number 1, opens his campaign against Korea's Lee Dong Keun but he will be wary of letting his guard down as Commonwealth Games champion Kashyap Parupalli of India is a likely opponent in the second round.

The Li-Ning BWF World Championships take place August 25-31 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

If Lee plays to form, he should have little trouble until a potential clash with either Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen or Santoso in the semi-finals.

Ironically, Santoso, who defeated Lee for the Singapore Open title in April, was only added to the men's singles draw Monday after the withdrawal of China's Du Pengyu, a bronze medallist last year.

At the opposite end of the draw is China's Chen Long, world number 2, who will be keen to salvage a disappointing year by his high standards.

Meanwhile, women's singles top seed Li Xuerui of China has a first-round bye and expects an easy path to the finals.

She faltered in the finals of last year's world championships and will be keen to make amends in Denmark.

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