KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Retired badminton great Lee Chong Wei has said it will be difficult for arch-rival Lin Dan to qualify for the Olympics due to tough competition from younger Chinese players.
China’s Lin is hoping compete in a fifth straight Olympics in Tokyo next year, but he will be 37 when the coronavirus-delayed Games come around.
The two-time Olympic champion is currently ranked just 19th, behind two of his compatriots. A country can only send two players to compete in Olympic singles, provided they are in the top 16.
“I think it will be relatively difficult if (Lin) wants to participate in the Olympics, because only two people from the Chinese team can take part,” Malaysian player Lee, 37, told a news website.
“If he really wants to take part in the Olympics, he has to be in the top two to go.”
“Badminton is about age. When you have grown older, it is really more difficult to compete against younger athletes,” he added.
Lin, known as ‘Super Dan’, said recently he has not given up on qualifying for the Olympics.
But China’s Chen Long, 31, is ranked fifth while compatriot Shi Yuqi, 24, is ninth, putting them in a stronger position.