Reigning Olympic and world champion Chen Long has been given a wildcard for BWF World Championships, which will be held this year in Glasgow between 21 and 27 August.
The two-time champion did not earn enough ranking points before the specified cut-off date (27 April, 2017) to seal an automatic qualifying spot at the biennial world tournament. While a country is allowed to represent three top-ranked shutttlers and four if all of them are among top-eight, Chen was the fourth-highest ranked Chinese shuttler behind Shi Yuqi (5), Tian Houwei (7) and Lin Dan (8) at the ninth spot in Race to Glasgow rankings.
"Taking into consideration Chen Long's status as reigning Olympic and World champion, the Badminton World Federation has granted the Chinese star a wildcard to compete in the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017," a statement on BWF's official website read.
"Exercising its prerogative to nominate a wild-card entry in each category, BWF determined the 28-year-old's stature and fan appeal would enhance the Championships to be held at Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland, from 21-27 August this year."
Even if he was not able to get the wildcard, Chen would have featured in the China world meet team as China Badminton Association were reportedly looking at options to include the world number nine after dropping one of the other three, which was likely to be Tian.
It is a three-way rivalry now
Chen had suffered a title drought after winning the Men's singles gold at last year's Rio Games. After facing early exits at All England Championships and Malaysia Open, the 28-year-old hit peak form when he defeated compatriot Lin to win the Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan last month, which brightened his prospects of being included in the World Championships team.
Apart from Chen, who won the title in 2014 and 2015, and five-time champion Lin, Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei, who will start as top seed will be favourite to win his maiden world crown this year.