Lee to lend a helping hand even in retirement

Datuk Lee Chong Wei

His playing career may be over but Datuk Lee Chong Wei has vowed not to turn his back on badminton.

He will continue to serve the nation which includes being the Chef de Mission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and even volunteered to be a sparring partner to help the national players.

This will benefit world No. 20 Lee Zii Jia, who is the highest Malaysian on the Badminton World Federation rankings.

“I’m sad to make this announcement today but I will never turn my back on my country and BAM (Badminton Association of Malaysia),” said Lee, 36, who recovered from nose cancer last November.

“I had an eight-point checklist from my trainer to ask my doctor in Taiwan as I wasn’t training as well as I had hoped. The doctor had a look and said I need more rest as I could not cope with the high-intensity training. This is why I decided to retire.

“It was always my dream to win an Olympic gold medal and while I could only win three silver medals, perhaps I can help the younger players win it in my role as Chef de Mission.

“I will also come in to spar with the players if my services are needed but for now, I want to dedicate my time to my family.

“I owe my wife (Datin Wong Mew Choo) a honeymoon. We got married in 2012 but I have been playing non-stop so now is the time to start planning a trip.”

Lee broke down several times during his press conference which was attended by close to 200 media from home and abroad but he obliged every request for a selfie when the event was over.

BAM coaching director Wong Choong Hann welcomed Lee’s decision to help out.

“The door will never be closed to him. He has served the nation well and if he wants to come and train or spar with the national players, it will only benefit them,” said Wong, who played in the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics alongside Lee.

“His desire and hunger to succeed was second to none and I hope the younger generation of players can pick up and learn from him.”

Fact file

  • World No 1 for 348 weeks including a stunning six-year reign from Aug 21, 2008 to Dec 18, 2014.
  • 705 victories in career.
  • 69 professional titles included 46 Superseries gold medals.
  • Three Olympic silver medals (2008, 2012, 2016)
  • Three World Championship silver medals (2011, 2013, 2013) and one bronze medal (2005)
  • Four All-England Open titles (2010, 2011, 2014, 2017)
  • Two Asian Championship gold medals (2006, 2016)
  • 12 Malaysia Open titles (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014,, 2016, 2018)

Picture by Asiana.my