The All England Open, which begins on Wednesday in Birmingham, returns as a hunting ground for every competing shuttler in all five disciplines as they bid to reach the pinnacle of the sport’s oldest tournament.

The Malaysian contingent is comprised of a defending champion this time around.

Lee Zii Jia announced himself as an elite contender for top honours when he outclassed two top shuttlers in the world – Kento Momota and Viktor Axelsen – to win the prestigious event last year.

Much has changed for Lee as he bids to defend his title this time around.

He is now a fully-fledged professional shuttler with a complete team behind him including a sponsor, personal coach, an assistant coach, a physiotherapist and a fitness coach.

With this evolution, Lee has become a brand in his own right, and with that naturally comes the expectations of him to do well and possibly go the distance.

The sixth seed knows the task ahead of him, with a tricky showdown looming against Kenta Nishimoto in the first round.

While Lee fared well to reach the semis of the German Open last week, his limp defeat to Kunvalut Vitidsarn was a worrying sight and fans will be keen to see him return to his usual attacking best.

Liew Daren, who has a new lease in his career after being appointed Lee’s assistant coach and training partner, has Toma Junior Popov for company in the opening round, and will be expected to overcome the Frenchman.

There isn’t a national representation in the women’s singles this time as none of the shuttlers made the cut.

In the women's doubles, Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah face a litmus test against Japan fifth seeds Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara, with the pair desperate to redeem themselves after a woeful first-round exit in Germany last week.

The mixed doubles is another category that has not produced much success despite good representation in major events.

Not a lot is riding this time around too, with some young and new pairings in the mix, but Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing are the ones who could progress the furthest.

Ong Yew Sin-Goh Liu Ying will have another event to see if they could make it work as a new pair, while Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei will try to extract as many points from top seeded Thais Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai.

Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai will also want to atone for a first-round loss last week when they play Mathias Thyrri-Amalie Magelund, while Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See face Venkat Gaurav Prasad-Juhi Dewangan.

The men’s doubles provides a brighter prospect of the shuttlers returning home with a title.

Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin are hailed as new national heroes after they won the German Open title, and they will be fired up to beat Chinese pair He Ji Ting-Tan Qiang.

2019 finalists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik have a first-round bye and could meet their national team-mates in the second round.

World Championships bronze medalists Ong-Teo Ee Yi will also have aspirations to improve on that achievements, while Man Wei Chong-Kai Wun Tee would benefit in experience playing the accomplished Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi.

For Tan Wee Kiong-Kian Meng, the All England provides another perspective to see if they can cut it as a pair at one of the biggest stages of all.