Chong Wei game for his fifth Olympics

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There was good news from badminton icon Datuk Lee Chong Wei who made his first public appearance since July during a press conference held at the Badminton Academy Malaysia in Bukit Kiara on Thursday.

The 36-year-old revealed that he has not given up of playing in his fifth Olympics and is game to take a shot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics…”if my health permits.”

The badminton world waited for Chong Wei’s press conference which put to rest questions on his badminton career after he was diagnosed with early-stage nasopharynx cancer.

Chong Wei, who returned from Chinese Taipei after a “review” of his health condition, fielded questions from the vast turnout of local and foreign media in a jovial mood, flanked by Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria on his left and secretary Datuk Ng Chin Chai on his right.

“I have already started some light workout and training at home to build my body muscles before I take to the court…which I will do once I get the medical clearance to do so.

“The doctors have told me not to be stressed and not to rush (in getting to the courts) to resume by badminton. I cannot wait to get down to serious training.

“Badminton is my love and badminton is in my blood. That is why my family has given me the go ahead with my badminton. I have discussed the matter with my wife (Datin Wong Mew Choo, a former national No 1women’s singles) and other family members, including my mother and my brother,” said Chong Wei.

Chong Wei disappeared from the badminton after the Indonesia Open in July where current No 1 Kento Momota beat him 23-21, 21-12 in the semi-finals. A week earlier Chong Wei had defeated the Japanese (21-17, 23-21) to win his 12th Malaysian Open title.

The former World No 1 missed the World Championships in Nanjing, China and also the Asian Games in Indonesia after he was diagnosed with nose cancer and sought treatment in Chinese Taipei for 10 weeks. He also skipped several BWF Superseries Tournaments.

“If all goes well I will be vying for Olympic points when the qualifying rounds begin (from April 2019). I may play in the All-England in my first tournament,” added Chong Wei, who is also a four-time winner of the prestigious All-England titles with the first coming in 2010.

The Malaysian ace has three Olympic silver medals which he won in Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016). He also has three Commonwealth Games gold medals which he won in Melbourne (2006), New Delhi (2010) and Gold Coast (2018).

Chong Wei also won silver in the World Championships in London (2011), Guangzhou (2013) and Jakarta (2015) while he took the bronze in Anaheim in 2005.

In the Asian Championships, he was the gold in 2006 (Johor Bahru) and Wuhan (China) in 2016).

At the same press conference Chong Wei, in replying to a question from the floor, said: “I asked myself why God picked me” to have this disease.

“But you have to be strong to face such situations. There were times when I cried each time I took my food as it was excruciating. My throat was hurting but I had to take my food for my energy.”

“Treatment was tough,” added Chong Wei who has two sons, Kingston and Terrance.  RIZAL ABDULLAH 

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