VINTAGE CHONG WEI
Veteran’s fourth All England success proves age is not a barrier
AGE is just a number, and Lee Chong Wei demonstrated it in style when he bagged his fourth All England title on Sunday.
At 35, Chong Wei proved he is an outstanding athlete by defying the odds to recover in time from a knee injury to make the trip to Birmingham.
Despite just a week of training sessions, Chong Wei defeated his opponents one by one until the final stage, where he proved too strong for his 21-year-old Shi Yuqi of China.
What is his limit? Will he still be there at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when he is 38?
Following yesterday’s victory, Chong Wei, who had also won the All England crown in 2010, 2011 and 2014, said: “I am very happy that I fought hard to come and play here in Birmingham. It was the right decision despite my injury.
“My condition is slowly picking up, and I’m starting to adapt to top level competition that I am so used to.
“Yes, I did say I will return to the All England next month, and so I did.
“As of now, I have a strong momentum going, so I will push myself to see how far I go this year with a few more tournaments lined up.”
The three-time Olympic silver medallist will return to Kuala Lumpur today to continue preparing himself before flying off to New Delhi for the India Open on March 28-April 2.
Meanwhile, mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying were left to rue their missed opportunity after coming agonisingly close to winning their maiden All England crown but fell short in the final to China’s Lu Kai-Huang Yaqiong.
A devastated Liu Ying, who has been battling injuries, posted on her Facebook page: “We came so close yet we couldn’t land the title.
“We should have won it in the second game, but I must say that the umpire’s decisions did throw us off a little.
“I am happy that all our fans stood by us and this is all a valuable learning lesson for us.”
Lee Chong Wei celebrates his All England victory in Birmingham on Sunday.