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LEE Chong Wei's bid to win his first major title has been made tougher after the Badminton World Federation (BWF) granted two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China a wildcard for the World Championships in Guangzhou on Aug 5-11.
Although China already have three shuttlers -- World No 2 Chen Long, No 3 Du Pengyu and No 9 Wang Zhengming -- qualifying for the event, BWF included Lin Dan due to his ability and popularity.
World No 41 Lin Dan did not qualify on merit after dropping out of the top 24 and the wildcard means he will be attempting to win an unprecedented fifth world title in Guanzhou.
National singles coach Tey Seu Bock was surprised by BWF's decision as wildcards are normally given to players from countries without any representation.
"I don't understand the reason behind BWF's decision to give Lin Dan a wildcard despite China having three players in the men's singles. I cannot help thinking that people want China to win the title," said Seu Bock.
"Chong Wei will now have to face four China players, which is a huge mental challenge but it is not impossible for him to win.
"What we have been hearing is that Lin Dan has been seriously contemplating retirement and it is a real surprise that China have accepted the wildcard.
"It will be tricky as Lin Dan will be unseeded and there is a possibility he could meet Chong Wei as early as the first round and this is going to be a massive challenge.
"We have another three months and Chong Wei must remain positive and focus on his preparations rather than think too much about Lin Dan."
Lin Dan already denied Chong Wei the 2011 world title and last year's Olympics gold in London in two close battles.
Lin Dan made his first appearance since the Olympics in the Asian Championships in Taipei last month, only to concede a walkover in the quarter-finals to Zhengming.
His withdrawal from the Sudirman Cup on May 18-26 further strengthened claims that he is likely to call it a day but he may have other plans now.
No player has won five world crowns before and this is something Lin Dan may be going after and Chong Wei needs to be prepared for another battle in Guangzhou.