February 20, 2008 / 5:38 PM / 10 years ago

Badminton - Tricky start for holder Lin Dan at All England champs

Lin Dan of China plays a shot in Seoul January 27, 2008. The world and defending champion faces a tricky first round opponent after Wednesday's draw pitted him against India's Anup Sridhar at the All England championships in Birmingham next month.Lee Jae-Won/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - World and defending champion Lin Dan faces a tricky first round opponent after Wednesday's draw pitted him against India's Anup Sridhar at the All England championships in Birmingham next month.

Sridhar gave Lin a big scare in last year's world championships in Kuala Lumpur where he led his Chinese opponent 20-19 in their quarter-final before losing 22-20 21-9.

Earlier in the tournament, Sridhar had beaten Indonesia's Olympic gold medallist Taufik Hidayat and former All England champion Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia.

Lin is in the same half of the draw as South Korea's Lee Hyun-il who beat him in the notorious final of the Korean Open last month when Lin appeared to throw his racket at Lee's coach Li Mao after protesting a line call which gave Lee a match point.

Play was halted for two minutes while officials struggled to restore order and Lin's coach Zhong Bo got into a shoving match with Li.

Lin and Lee could meet again in the semi-finals in Birmingham.

The All England championships, starting on March 4, are the third leg of 12 in the Super Series following tournaments in Malaysia and South Korea.

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