Kuala Lumpur: Four-time champion Lin Dan of China will defend his World Championship title in August, courtesy a wildcard given by the the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Thursday. The BWF's Committee of Management (COM) for the World Championships voted unanimously to award the legendary men's singles player a wildcard for the Aug 5-11 event to be held in Guangzhou, his homeland.
Exercising its prerogative to nominate a wildcard entry in each category, the COM determined the 29-year-old's stature and fan appeal would significantly enhance the championships. This was the only wildcard awarded.
Having competed in few tournaments since retaining his Olympic crown last summer, Lin Dan's international ranking fell, ruling him out of direct qualification for the World Championships.
His wildcard berth will likely re-ignite the rivalry between him and Malaysian archrival Lee Chong Wei. The latter is the reigning World No.1 but has lost to Lin Dan in major finals, including the gold-medal matches at the London 2012 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.