Can­cer-hit Lee an­nounces come­back bid

The New Paper - - RACING -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.