The 19-year bond – a solid bond in very sense – was further cemented as Malaysia’s badminton icon Datuk Wira Lee Chong Wei vowed to stay put with the game’s ruling body in the country, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
The former World No 1 and Malaysia’s best known badminton ambassador, Chong Wei drove home a clear cut message that he has no intentions of quitting the national team after top mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and men’s doubles Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong turned professional this month.
The 35-year-old Chong Wei is currently on medical leave, recuperating from nasal cancer but has vowed to be back on the court in his chase for Olympic glory as soon as he gets the green light from the doctors.
He has not seen court action since his semi-final appearance in last year’s Indonesia Open in July where he lost to Japan’s current World No 1 Kento Momota.
Chong Wei was also forced to skip the World Championships in Nanjing, China and the Asian Games in Indonesia in August as he sought medical treatment in Taiwan. He also skipped several other Badminton World Federation (BWF) tournaments that saw his rankings drop.
“We have a long bond (Chong Wei and BAM) that goes a long way and that courtship. Nothing will break us up as it is something I cherish. It is for my country with lots of pride and dignity.”
All more when Chong Wei has not given up on his burning desire to win the elusive Olympics gold medal for himself and the country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
If he makes it (winning the gold in Tokyo) it will be icing on the cake for the Malaysian ace. He has three silvers medals in his cabinet he won in Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio de Janeirio (2016).
With the Tokyo Olympics qualifying points beginning on May 1, Chong Wei has become the focus of the badminton world yet again. However, he will only take to the courts if he gets the medical clearance.
Chong Wei was hoping to make his comeback in March and go for his fifth All England title. That, however, is not to be and Chong Wei has now set his sights on winning his 13th Malaysian Open title and this is in April.
With such “desire, inspiration and commitment” to keep Malaysia’s flag flying in the shuttle sport after what he has gone through following the nasal cancer, F & N last month extended contract as 100PLUS Ambassador which will run through 2020 (Tokyo Olympics).
Chong Wei has been 100PLUS Ambassador since 2009 and a year later won his first All England title by defeating Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the final. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH