Badminton coach left behind for Games race

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 February, 2012, 12:00am


Hong Kong badminton coach Wang Chen will not lead her charges to the London Olympics as the former world No 1 is expecting her first baby this summer.

'I will not take the team to any overseas tournaments. I don't think I can handle travelling,' said Wang, who has twice represented Hong Kong at the Olympic Games in Athens and Beijing. 'But I will still be coaching them at home and will stay in touch when they play overseas.'

Wang, a quarter-finalist in the Athens Games, is married to former China national team member Zheng Yumin.

Head coach Tim He Yiming said that the team's preparations would not be affected by Wang's impending motherhood.

'We have hired an assistant coach to help the team and I will also spend more time with them,' said Tim, who will be leading his charges to the Thomas and Uber Cup Asian zone qualifiers in Macau next week. 'There are a couple of major overseas tournaments ahead, including two super series [the All England and India Opens],' he said.

Hong Kong face a hectic schedule in the next two months, competing in six overseas tournaments before the London Games qualifying ends in late April.

Yip Pui-yin, Hong Kong's highest ranked woman at No20, and doubles pairing Tse Ying-suet and Poon Lok-yan, ranked 12th in the world, are the city's main hopes of qualifying.

The women's team will meet Japan and hosts Macau in the group stage of the Uber Cup qualifiers and need a top-two finish to reach the quarter-finals. Only the top four teams will make it to the finals in Wuhan in May.

The men's team, headed by Wong Wing-ki, faces an even tougher schedule in Macau. They need to take on two world powers - Malaysia and South Korea - in their group for a place in the last eight.

The two Cup results in Macau will also count towards Olympic qualifying points.

The world's top 38 players will qualify for the two singles events in London, while there are 12 pairs in each of the three doubles events.