After bat­tling cancer, Lee aims for Olympic gold

Shanghai Daily - - SPORTS - BADMINTON (AP)

HIS cancer in re­mis­sion after in­ten­sive treat­ment, for­mer No. 1-ranked Lee Chong Wei is set­ting his sights on win­ning an Olympic gold in badminton.

In his first pub­lic ap­pear­ance since his di­ag­no­sis, the three-time Olympic sil­ver medal­ist said health is his top pri­or­ity, but he isn’t ready yet to hang up his rac­quet.

Lee said doc­tors gave him a clean bill of health after more than two months of in­ten­sive treat­ment for nose cancer in Chi­nese Taipei. Al­ready into light fit­ness train­ing, Lee hopes to re­turn to the court next month. “I love badminton ... I can­not say 100 per­cent that I can come­back, see how my body is,” Lee told a news con­fer­ence in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day. “If I can play, it’s the last track for me.”

Lee is re­garded as a sport­ing hero in Malaysia after a lengthy ca­reer that has in­cluded the Olympic medals and 69 ti­tles around the world. He was sus­pended for eight months in 2015 after test­ing pos­i­tive for a banned anti-in­flam­ma­tory drug at the World cham­pi­onships, but re­turned to elite com­pe­ti­tion.

The cancer came as a shock after he went for a med­i­cal checkup be­cause he felt un­well dur­ing the In­done­sian Open in July. He said he couldn’t eat or sleep for days after dis­cov­er­ing his ill­ness, but sup­port from fam­ily and friends pushed him to be pos­i­tive.

The treat­ment was in­tense, and he couldn’t eat or talk for sev­eral days.

Lee said his med­i­cal con­di­tion is “back to nor­mal” now but that he needed to re­turn to Chi­nese Taipei ev­ery three months for eval­u­a­tion. Now re­gain­ing some weight and his ap­petite, Lee said he’d fol­low med­i­cal ad­vice not to rush back into in­tense com­pe­ti­tion.

But with the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, he hasn’t given up hopes of win­ning that elu­sive gold medal.

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