World No 1 Li Xuerui of China voiced concerns about the physical strains of playing badminton at the highest level after thrashing Marija Ulitina of Ukraine 21-9, 21-10 in the second round of the women's singles at the world championships yesterday.
Ulitina reached the second round thanks to a walkover after Jiang Yanjiao withdrew from the tournament because of a recurrence of her back injury.
Li said she felt sorry for 28-year-old compatriot Jiang as this was likely her final chance to win a medal at the world championships. "Jiang has been troubled by injuries for a long time and it is very sad that she had to pull out," Olympic and Asian champion Li, 22, said. "It shows just how competitive badminton is at the highest level and the strain it puts on your body.
"As a player, I am constantly worried about picking up injuries. Luckily, I've been mostly injury-free in my career so far, but all of us players are aware that this is a serious problem in our sport. There have been so many withdrawals from tournaments in the past few years because of injuries, so we have to address this problem seriously."
Men's world No1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia agreed, saying his top priority was to stay healthy so that he could compete at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
"At my age, I must avoid getting injured. Recovery [after tournaments] is important and diet is also important to keep in good physical condition," Lee, who will be 31 in October, said after coming from behind to beat Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka of Indonesia 14-21, 21-18, 21-11 in the second round.
Chen overcame Sho Sasaki of Japan 21-15, 21-12, while Lin, who is drawn to meet Chen in the quarter-finals, beat Eric Pang of the Netherlands 21-14, 21-17.
Hong Kong's Hu Yun also went through with a 21-11, 21-18 win over Edwin Ekiring of Uganda, while women's doubles pair Tse Ying-suet and Poon Lok-yan beat Tatjana Bibik and Anastasia Chervaykova of Russia 21-10, 21-15. Yip Pui-yin, takes on fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand today for a place in the women's singles quarter-finals. Yip needed just 36 minutes to carve out a 21-15, 21-15 win over Sabrina Jaquet of Switzerland. However, Chan Tsz-ka lost her second-round battle against Bae Yeon-ju of South Korea, 21-10, 20-22, 21-9.