Can­cer-hit Lee eyes re­turn, Olympic qual­i­fy­ing

Shanghai Daily - - SPORTS - BAD­MINTON (AFP)

MALAYSIA’S former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei could re­turn to the bad­minton train­ing court within a fort­night after fight­ing back from nose can­cer, an of­fi­cial said on Thurs­day.

The three-time Olympic sil­ver medal­ist, who has spent nearly five months on the side­lines, is al­ready do­ing light fit­ness work, hav­ing re­ceived a clean bill of health from doc­tors, Malaysia’s bad­minton chief said.

“He sounded cheer­ful,” said Norza Zakaria, pres­i­dent of the Bad­minton As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysia, after speak­ing to Lee on the phone.

“Yes I think so,” he added, when asked to con­firm re­ports that Lee would re­sume play­ing in train­ing in two weeks.

Norza also told the Star On­line: “I’m sure he will be ready by the time the Olympic qual­i­fy­ing pe­riod com­mences on May 1.”

Lee, now down at 15th in the Bad­minton World Fed­er­a­tion rank­ings, last played com­pet­i­tively at the In­done­sian Open in July.

After los­ing to world cham­pion Kento Mo­mota of Ja­pan in the semi­fi­nals, he flew to Chi­nese Taipei for spe­cial­ist pro­ton ther­apy and chemo­ther­apy.

But last month Lee, 36, in­sisted he was not go­ing to hang up his rac­quet.

“I want to come back to court,” he told a press con­fer­ence in Kuala Lumpur, adding: “As of now, I am not re­tir­ing.”

Lee also said he was tar­get­ing a com­pet­i­tive come­back at the All Eng­land Open in March, and was still ey­ing an elu­sive Olympic gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Lee’s un­suc­cess­ful at­tempts to cap­ture Malaysia’s first ever Olympic gold medal at three con­sec­u­tive Sum­mer Games were fol­lowed avidly back home, as was his long-run­ning ri­valry with Chi­nese su­per­star Lin Dan.

His last shot at the Olympic ti­tle at Rio 2016 ended in a crush­ing fail­ure when the Malaysian lost out to China’s Chen Long in a nail-bit­ing fi­nal.

Nose can­cer is per­haps the big­gest blow suf­fered by Lee, who was banned after test­ing pos­i­tive for a pre­scribed anti-in­flam­ma­tory at the 2014 world cham­pi­onships. Lee re­turned to the sport in 2015, with the au­thor­i­ties ac­cept­ing he took the drug in­ad­ver­tently.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.