* ‘For now this the best for Chong Wei and Malaysia’ – Hendrawan
“Saya minta maaf kepada rakyat Malaysia’ (I apologize to the people of Malaysia),” said Hendrawan the coach of Datuk Lee Chong Wei.
The Indonesian made the statement after Chong Wei’s 21-14, 21-17 defeat to defending champion Chen Long of China in the men’s singles final in the World Championships which ended in Jakarta on Sunday.
The visibly moved Hendrawan admitted that the three months preparations for the world meet after Chong Wei returned to competitive badminton after serving a eight-month suspension was not enough.
“It is not enough to prepare Chong Wei in three months for a major meet like the world championships. I did promise (to make Chong Wei a world champion) but it did not materialize. I am sorry,” said the former world champion.
Hendrawan, however, has taken it on himself to get Chong Wei on track for the next biggie – the 2016 Rio Olympics. The qualifying rounds began on May 1 and Chong Wei has slowly moved up to No 44 in the latest world ranking list.
After being out in the cold during the eight-months suspension, Chong Wei’s world ranking plunged to 180 from world No 1.
Hendrawan, however, was full of praise for Chong Wei’s gutsy performance in the final – on a day when Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) technical director Morten Frost pointed out that Chen Long had “answers to everything” Chong Wei threw at him.
And Chong Wei himself has vowed to win at least one major before he thinks of retiring.
First on his list is the Rio Olympics and from there he will gauge his performance and whether he will be able to go the extra mile for another crack at the world title.
For the record the World Championships will not be held next year due it being an Olympic year.
And at 33-years-old, Chong Wei’s age is against him but his discipline is second to none plus his tremendous fighting qualities although he fell for the fourth time at the final hurdle in the World Championships.
Chong Wei won the silver medal in the 2011 World Championships in Wembley, Guangzhou (2013), Copenhagen (2014) before Jakarta. However, Chong Wei’s medal won in Copenhagen was taken away after the doping ban.
Chong Wei himself apologized to the people of Malaysia and his fans all over the world for his failure.