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NST Online: Sports

Hope yet for Chong Wei

Posted: 24 Jan 2011 10:17 AM PST

By K.M. Boopathy

 Chong Wei  has two more opportunities to win something big and retire as a true great.

Chong Wei has two more opportunities to win something big and retire as a true great.

LEE Chong Wei's form has been so impressive throughout his career that rival Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia finds it hard to believe the World No 1 has yet to win a major title.

A normally cheeky Taufik had sounded really sincere when saying that a player of Chong Wei's calibre should land at least one major and the former Olympic, world and Asian Games champion hopes his rival will break his jinx in the next two years.

That is the respect Chong Wei has earned from his peers and he has two more opportunities to win something big and retire as a true great.

The Wembley Arena in London will be where Chong Wei gets his two final chances -- in the World Championships this year and the 2012 Olympics.

While it is a fact that Chong Wei never seems to be able to produce his best in the majors, his recent dominance and Lin Dan seemingly lacking the hunger he once possessed, give rise to hope that a major is just around the corner.

Chong Wei has been in impeccable form since the start of 2011, winning the World Super Series Masters Finals and Malaysia Open without dropping a game despite his coach Misbun Sidek's future being in doubt.

Lin Dan withdrew from the Malaysia Open with an abdominal injury and if it is really serious, it will take some time before the Olympic champion returns to complete fitness, so Chong Wei should continue dominating the Super Series.

However, the most important event of 2011 is the World Championships and this is what Chong Wei should be focused on.

As Taufik pointed out, mental strength is what is standing between Chong Wei and a major.

Lin Dan is not what he used to be and Chong Wei has to believe that the three-time world champion withdrew from the Malaysia Open as he does not want to lose to the Malaysian.

But a meeting between this generation's best two players will soon happen again and Chong Wei must go on court not lacking confidence.

He is, if not better, on par with Lin Dan and Chong Wei must not let opportunity pass him by anymore.

The same cannot be said of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, who are in serious danger of being remembered as wasted talents.

They have not only lost their attacking flair and speed but also their confidence and Rexy Mainaky must work hard to bring them back to the top again.

They are going through a major crisis and Rexy has to find a way out of the rot or Kien Keat-Boon Heong may not even win a medal in the World Championships or Olympics.

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F1: Top India Grand Prix organiser quits

Posted: 24 Jan 2011 08:02 AM PST

NEW DELHI: One of the chief organisers of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix has resigned barely nine months before the country hosts the Formula One race, the promoters said on Monday.

Mark Hughes, a former number two at the Bahrain circuit, who was a key figure in building the Indian facility over the past 12 months, left his post a month ago "due to personal reasons", the promoters said.

"Mark Hughes is no longer working with us. He left due to his own personal reasons," Sameer Kumar, a spokesman for the promoters, the Jaypee group, told AFP.

Kumar did not elaborate on the departure of Hughes, vice-president of operations, but said operations at the circuit were now being handled by Azhar Rahman, a former race organiser in Sepang , Malaysia .

India is due to hold the race on October 30 at a $350 million 5.14-kilometre (3.2-mile) circuit designed by renowned German architect Hermann Tilke in Greater Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi .

The under-construction circuit is part of an ambitious 2,500-acre (1,000-hectare) sports complex being built by the Jaypee group that will include an international-standard cricket stadium.

Hughes confirmed the development, telling AFP he was now working with the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi , United Arab Emirates .

"Whilst I am no longer based in India and I am working for the circuit in Abu Dhabi , I am still closely associated with Jaypee and am still advising them on the upcoming Indian Grand Prix," he said.

The promoters, whose business includes infrastructure and real estate, were confident of holding a successful race despite Hughes's departure.

"Work on the track is now going on at full swing. We have about 6,000 people working on the circuit," said Kumar.

"Homologation (approval by F1 officials) of the circuit is expected to happen by July-August. All trackside infrastructure will also be completed well in time."

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone inspected the circuit site in October and dismissed concerns that preparations for the race could mirror the chaotic build-up to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi .

"Everything was much better than what I thought. The track is much better than many," he told reporters at the time.

Formula One has been followed closely in cricket-crazy India after local driver Narain Karthikeyan raced for the now defunct Jordan team in 2005.

Karthikeyan will return to the circuit in 2011 following a deal with the Spanish Hispania racing team.

Another Indian, Karun Chandhok, drove last year for Hispania, who finished 11th out of 12 in its inaugural year. -- AFP

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