Double Olympic champion Lin Dan of China will defend his World Championships title in August after receiving a wild card for the Guangzhou event, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said on Thursday.
Lin's sporadic appearances since defending his Olympic title at last year's London Games have seen his world ranking plummet to a lowly 41, making the 29-year-old ineligible for a direct qualification.
However, the BWF Committee of Management (COM) voted unanimously to award him the only men's singles wild card for the August 5-11 event in his homeland.
"Exercising its prerogative to nominate a wild-card entry in each category, the COM determined the 29-year-old's stature and fan appeal would significantly enhance the championships," the BWF said on its website (www.bwfbadminton.org).
"His wild-card berth will likely reignite prospects of a possible rekindling of the rivalry between him and his Malaysian arch-rival, Lee Chong Wei," the governing body said.
Photograph: Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters