Sport lacks future 'star', says Indonesia's Taufik
By Rod Gilmour
BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - A stark warning about the future direction of the men's game was issued on Tuesday by two of badminton’s recent greats on the eve of the All-England Championships.
As the world’s best prepared for this season's first Premier Superseries, with China seeded to win four of the five titles, Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat, the 2004 Olympic champion, said the game was “only about Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan at the moment.”
That long-lasting rivalry, however, will not continue in Birmingham, as Malaysia’s Lee is still suspended indefinitely for failing a doping test at last August’s world championships.
Lee, who won silver medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, remains confident he can clear his name when a Badminton World Federation panel conducts a hearing into the case.
With Lee missing, Taufik said he could not predict the next big rivalry to excite the sport, largely due to inconsistency among the players at the top of the men’s game.
“For a great player, we will have to wait five more years as the standard is going up and down,” said twice All-England runner-up Taufik, who retired in 2013.
“Everyone has a different style. After (Lee) Chong Wei and Lin leave, who else is there? Chen Long [the current world number one] perhaps, but he is not like these two. He has a different style and a different character.
“Badminton needs an icon like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in tennis. It is a question of how you become a champion and stay at the top.” Continued...