The alarm rings at 6am on a school day. Datuk Lee Chong Wei and his wife, Datin Wong Mew Choo, spring out of bed.
Wong will head to the kitchen to prepare breakfast, while Lee makes sure their sons – Kingston and Terence – get ready for school.
Most days, it is Lee, who goes on the school run, although Wong takes over when he has meetings to attend.
Lee said he relishes spending time with the boys. It is to make up for the times he was away when he was the world No. 1 badminton player.
He also joked that it would not be long before his children considered him “old, and not cool enough for them”.
“Kingston is already nine, while Terence is two years younger. In two to three years, they will probably not want to mix with my wife and I, as we would be ‘too old’, or ‘uncool’ for them,” joked Lee, who turns 40 on Oct 21.
“I did not spend much time with them when I was playing. I could only do so when I retired three years ago.”
After sending the boys to school, Lee goes for his daily walks. He also goes to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, for personal training.
“Although I am retired, I still follow a fitness and training regime. I walk for an hour before going to the gym,” he said.
“However, I do not carry weights as heavy as I used to during my playing days,” said the three-time World Championship runner-up.
“I have some old ‘battle scars’, so I must be careful when I am in the gym. That is why I hired a personal trainer.
“It is important, as a former athlete, to not let myself go. Everyone should exercise, as that helps us stay physically fit and mentally alert.”
Lee, who also won three Olympics silver medals, revealed he has a new hobby – cycling.
“I have replaced one obsession (badminton) with another. I try to go for rides often,” said the 12-time Malaysia Open champion.
“I have a circle of cycling friends. I find it relaxing and fun.”
In the afternoons, Lee fetches the kids from school and brings them home, where Wong cooks a healthy lunch.
“We try not to eat out often. Once in a while, ‘boleh lah’ (can). But it is vital to teach the kids the importance of eating healthy from a young age.”
He said both boys liked badminton, but neither he, nor Wong, plan to force them to make it a career.
“We play nearly every evening in the front of the house. Once a week, we book a court.
“I had discussions with Wong. We decided not to force them to make badminton a career. It is up to them, if they want to go further than just having fun. I am happy they get the exercise.”
Asked about the weekends, Lee said it is more of the same, except they get to enjoy sleeping in.
Movies are a weekly treat, but Lee said the family has stopped going to the cinema because of Covid-19.
“I did go recently, but that was because a friend had rented the whole hall.
“I do not want to risk sitting in an enclosed area with strangers. That is why I prefer to watch movies at home.”
Separately, fans who miss seeing Lee in action, can head to the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, tomorrow morning.
As part of the ‘Visions’ Legend’ by Yonex, Lee, Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat, Denmark’s Peter Gade, and South Korea’s Lee Yong-dae, will have an exhibition match at 10am.
The match is one of the side events at the ongoing Malaysia Open that ends on Sunday.