The international badminton season gets under way this week at the Malaysian Open with a grudge match between bad boy Taufik Hidayat and world No. 1 Lin Dan kicking it off.
The pair have been drawn in the first round of the tournament today, which is the first of 13 Super Series events that culminate in a grand final in December.
Organizers could not have asked for more, with tensions still simmering between the two, sparked by an astonishing personal attack on Lin by Hidayat at the Asian Games last month where he called him arrogant and unfriendly.
The Indonesian world No. 12, who has earned a reputation as the bad boy of the game, rubbed salt into the Chinese star's wounds by beating him in the singles final.
Lin declined to attend the post-match news conference, where the world champion would have had to sit next to Hidayat.
Their dispute stems from the Hong Kong Open last September where Hidayat stormed out of their quarter-final after just five points over a disputed line call.
The Malaysian tournament gives Lin the chance to avenge the loss and claw back his pride, although Olympic champion Hidayat seems keen to bury the hatchet.
"I will try and enjoy my match against Lin at the Malaysia Open," he said. "I haven't set any targets for the Super Series."
World No. 2 and local hero Lee Chong Wei is defending his title and has found himself on the right side of the draw, avoiding Hidayat, Lin and Peter Gade.
He has to overcome German giant Bjoern Joppien in the first round, before a potential clash with China's Bao Chunlai, who beat him in the world championship semi-finals.
In the women's event, China's Zhang Ning and Xie Xingfang, Lin's girlfriend who waded into the Hidayat spat in Doha by calling the Indonesian "cold" and "rude," are the drawcards.
Zhang starts against South Korea's Hwang Hye-youn while Xie plays Eriko Hirose of Japan in her opening match.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is already in Florida with the rest of his Toronto teammates, and he knows the time to take a stand and counter the NBA plan to restart the season has passed, but his opinion on the matter has not changed. “It sucks,” VanVleet said on Monday in a videoconference of his choice to return to the court during the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter campaign. “It’s terrible timing, but that’s been 2020 for us. We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense, but