KUALA LUMPUR: Can you imagine Lee Chong Wei taking on Lin Dan for the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
Well, don’t bet against it … especially if the Badminton World Federation (BWF) decide to change the best-of-three 21-point scoring format to the 11-point best-of-five system.
If they do, world No. 1 Chong Wei, who settled for a third Olympic silver medal in Rio de Janeiro last month, believes that it would be possible for him to extend his career.
“Nothing is confirmed yet, but if there is indeed a change I could very well compete at the Tokyo Olympics,” said Chong Wei.
“Even Lin Dan might play on as the 11-point system would mean shorter matches … which is better for senior players like us.
“We certainly have the experience. Playing in shorter matches is definitely better because I believe we can control the shuttlecock better.”
Chong Wei, who turns 34 next month, also admitted that “it is possible for me to represent Malaysia at the 2018 Thomas Cup”.
“I’m still in good physical condition and I have no issues training under Hendrawan and (Tey) Seu Bock as I prepare for the World Championships next year,” said Chong Wei.
“I still have lots to learn from Hendrawan, who is a former world champion himself.
“Beyond that, if my condition is still good, I don’t see why I can’t represent Malaysia for one more Thomas Cup.”
For now though, the Penangite is just focused on his next assignment – the Japan Open in Tokyo from Sept 20-25.
It will be Chong Wei’s first tournament since losing to Chen Long in the Olympic final last month.
Chong Wei, who has won the Japan Open five times – 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 – is the top seed and faces Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana in the first round.
He is expected to cruise into the quarter-finals, where he is likely to meet Indonesian seventh seed Tommy Sugiarto.
National No. 2 Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and independent shuttler Zulfadli Zulkiffli are the other singles shuttlers in the fray.
World No. 26 Iskandar is up against India’s H.S. Prannoy in the first round while world No. 35 Zulfadli will begin with a clash against Denmark’s world No. 11 Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.