Cancer-hit Lee announces comeback bid
Malaysian star Lee Chong Wei yesterday said he plans to return to badminton after successful treatment for nose cancer, insisting he had no intention of retiring.
The ex-world No. 1 said he could resume training as early as next month and was targeting a competitive comeback at the All England Open in March.
“I finished all my treatment... and have recovered very well,” a cheerful and healthy-looking Lee, 36, told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur. “I want to come back to court. As of now, I am not retiring.”
The three-time Olympic silver medallist was making his first public appearance since his shock diagnosis was announced in September.
Lee, who returned from treatment in Taiwan last month, said it was his “dream” to play in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which would be his fifth Games.
“I think to qualify (for the Tokyo Olympics) should be no problem for me,” he said, but added that his health was his current priority.“I just try my very best because I love my country... and I love badminton.”
However, he conceded that if his health did not improve enough, he might have to retire.
“If my condition is good, I will continue. If I can’t, I will stop.”
Lee, who enjoys superstar status in Malaysia, was diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer, forcing him to pull out of the Asian Games and world championships.
The father of two said that when he found out about the illness, “I was crying for a week, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep”.
On the advice of his doctors he travelled to Taiwan for treatment, during which he lost five kilos.
“This is the toughest period of my life,” said Lee, who has slipped to eighth in the world rankings. “But I had the support of my loved ones to continue fighting.”
He said that he underwent over 30 sessions of treatment under seven doctors.
He said they have given him a clean bill of health, and he has regained three kilos since coming home.
Lee was banned after testing positive for a proscribed antiinflammatory at the 2014 world championships.
He returned to the sport in 2015, after authorities accepted that he took the drug inadvertently.
His unsuccessful attempts to capture Malaysia’s first ever Olympic gold medal at three consecutive Games were followed avidly back home, as was his long-running rivalry with Chinese superstar Lin Dan.
His last shot at Olympic gold at Rio 2016 ended in failure, the Malaysian losing out to China’s Chen Long in a nailbiting final. – AFP