Chong Wei is game for his fifth Olympics

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Malaysia’s badminton icon Datuk Wira Lee Chong has yet to get the medical green light to return to competitive badminton but is taking a positive approach in his bid to qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
 
The 36-year-old Chong Wei is ready to throw in his challenge and keeping his fingers crossed that he will get the clearance to return to the court with high hopes of playing in the Malaysia Open in April.
 
Chong Wei has already resumed gym training after being out of the game since the Indonesia Open since July last year. He reached the semi-finals in Jakarta where he lost to Japan’s Kento Momota – the player he beat to win his record 12th Malaysia Open a week earlier.
 
“I am game to throw in my challenge for a place in the Tokyo Olympics. If I make the grade it will be my fifth Olympics,” Chong Wei told the media after a training session at the Academy Badminton Malaysia in Bukit Kiara on Monday.
 
Chong is also aware that he has a battle on his hands with two other Malaysian contenders  – current national number one Lee Zii Jia who is ranked 28 in the latest BWF rankings followed by Liew Daren at 29. Chong is a rung below at 30.
 
“Let the best win…I will try my best provided I am cleared to play competitive badminton again,” added Chong Wei who will return to Taipei for a follow-up of his nasal cancer treatment.
 
Since he was diagnosed with the Big C after the Indonesia Open, Chong Wei missed last year’s World Championships in Nanjing and also the Asian Games in Jakarta plus several other BWF tournaments.
 
The former World No 1 is looking forward to the Malaysian Open after his earlier intentions to play in next month’s All-England came to a halt when he was not given medical clearance to compete. Chong Wei is a four-time winner of the prestigious All-England.
 
The Olympics qualifying rounds start on May 1 and end on 30 April next year.  A country can have two representatives in the Olympics if they are in the top 16 at the end of qualifying rounds.
 
“If I qualify it will be my fifth Olympics while Zii Jia and Daren have to play in the biggie. This is a big challenge,” quipped Chong Wei who won the men’s singles silver at the Beijing Olympics (2008), London Olympics (2012) and the Rio Olympics (2016). – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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