Wang injury a blow for HK's Sudirman hopes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 June, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong's hopes of maintaining their place among the elite at the Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships took a nosedive when top singles player Wang Chen pulled out of the biennial event.

Head coach Chan Chi-choi said yesterday world number four Wang, who won the women's singles title in the Indonesia Super Series Open last month, did not accompany the team to Glasgow, Scotland, where the event starts on Monday.

'She has carried many minor injuries over the years. This is one of those, but we do not want to risk her playing as we have already entered the Olympic qualifying stage,' said Chan. 'Wang's absence will definitely make our task more difficult and we need a miracle to keep our position in the first division.'

Wang is in China for treatment and her place will be taken by youngster Yip Pui-yin, ranked 13th in the world, while Ng Wei will be the number one in the men's singles for Hong Kong.

The SAR are one of the eight teams in the top flight. They will play Denmark on Monday in group B, which also has South Korea and Indonesia. In group A are defending champions China, Malaysia, Thailand and England.

Teams finishing last in the two first division groups go into a relegation play-off. Only teams in the first division can compete for the Sudirman Cup, while teams in other divisions (from two to six) play only for promotion or relegation.

'The draw in group B is much tougher than A and if we finish bottom of the group, we are in great danger of losing our top-flight position,' said the coach.

The Sudirman Cup tests the overall strength of a nation, with matches decided by the best of five rubbers (one each in men's and women's singles and doubles, and one mixed doubles). Chau Hoi-wah and Koon Wai-chee will play in the women's doubles while world number 12 Albertus Njoto and Yohan Wiratama are in the men's doubles. The mixed doubles will possibly be Koon and Njoto.

Although Wang will miss the Sudirman Cup, there is a silver lining. As Hong Kong's top player, she has been invited as a foreign player to participate in the prestigious Indonesia Super League.

Sixteen Indonesian clubs - eight men's and eight women's - will compete from June 22 to July 1 for prize money of nearly HK$900,000 in one of the biggest club competitions which allows overseas players.

China refused to let their players who rank in the top 100 participate in the Super League.