KUALA LUMPUR: The highly-anticipated return of the country’s most decorated and celebrated men’s singles shuttler, Lee Chong Wei, who was supposed to compete at the Malaysia Open next month, may not happen after all.
Chong Wei, who has not played in a tournament since he was diagnosed with early stage nose cancer last July, is expected to meet his doctor in Taiwan next week to learn more about his current condition and the progress he has made so far.
According to BA of Malaysia (BAM) president, Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria, who had a talk with the 37-year-old former World No 1, expectations for a comeback in April should be lowered.
“I am not his doctor, so I shouldn’t confirm anything, but based on my conversation with him (Chong Wei), we shouldn’t have such high expectations on him making a return next month.
“His health is his priority and he will be flying to Taiwan next week to meet with his doctor. We will know by Tuesday (March 19) if he can play at the Malaysia Open or not.
“Our target is to have Chong Wei prepared for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, so we should allow him that time to make a full recovery.
“I can say that he should be ready for the Sudirman Cup (May 19-26 in Nanjing, China),” said Norza after the BAM Townhall session with Sports Minister, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) here earlier today (Thursday).
Chong Wei, who is also the Malaysia Open defending champion, was slated to take on India’s current World No 7 K. Srikanth in the first round itself.
Should Chong Wei skip the tournament, all eyes will be on current national No 1 Lee Zii Jia and 2018 World Championships bronze medallist, Liew Daren, both of whom will be featuring in the men’s singles event.
The Malaysia Open, a BWF World Tour Super 750 event, will be held at the Axiata Arena from Apr 2-7.