China's 'Super Dan' gets world champs wildcard
Kuala Lumpur: Chinese star Lin Dan will defend his title at this year`s world championships after organisers gave him a wildcard to raise the tournament`s profile, a statement said today.
The four-time winner was handed the only wildcard for the August 5-11 event in Guangzhou, China, because of his "stature and fan appeal", the Badminton World Federation said.
Lin`s ranking has dropped to 41 in the world after his eight-month break since winning last year`s Olympics, meaning he was not eligible for an automatic spot.
"Exercising its prerogative to nominate a wildcard entry in each category, the COM (committee of management) determined the 29-year-old`s stature and fan appeal would significantly enhance the championships," the statement said.
"This was the only wildcard awarded."
While the multiple world and Olympic champion is badminton`s biggest star, the move may not go down well in the camp of Malaysian world number one Lee Chong Wei, who has lost a number of major finals to Lin.
Their last meeting was in London, when Lin overcame Lee in the Olympic final after also beating him to gold in Beijing. He enjoys a 21-9 record against his Malaysian rival.
"Super Dan" has since played only three competitive matches. He returned to action at the Badminton Asia Championships in April but pulled out after the third round with a shoulder injury.