KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei is back home, promising to bounce back stronger after his injury setback.
Yesterday, Chong Wei was still raw with emotion and continued to shed tears over the torn tendon in his right ankle, which has put his long-cherished dream of Olympic glory in jeopardy.
When Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Seri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh told him not to lose heart despite the enforced layoff which will shorten his preparations for the London Games, tears rolled down Chong Wei’s cheek.
His sole focus over the last four years has been on winning the elusive gold at the Olympics.
When he regained his composure, Chong Wei said he would emerge stronger from this painful experience.
“It’s still quite painful,” said Chong Wei, pointing to his strapped ankle while seated in a wheelchair.
“I’m really sad that I couldn’t help the team against Denmark,” he said.
Malaysia lost 2-3 after Chong Wei limped off in the first singles.
“One has to be mentally stronger when experiencing an injury like this. I know that I will have to come out of this stronger mentally as I may lose several weeks of training,” he said.
On the gravity of his injury, Chong Wei said: “I will be meeting Dr Ramlan Aziz (director-general of the National Sports Insitute) and he will look at it again.”
Chong Wei will have another Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) screening soon.
The first MRI at a hospital in Wuhan on Tuesday showed a tendon tear that would take three to four weeks to heal.
Coach Tey Seu Bock has already laid out a plan to get Chong Wei back on his feet before the London Games.
“We will wait for Dr Ramlan’s assessment on Chong Wei’s condition. We will give him enough rest. We will start training once he can walk without putting any pressure on his injured ankle,” he said.
“We will begin with upper body exercises, but rather than focusing too much on his physical condition, I will pay more attention to reviving his confidence.
“It isn’t easy for an athlete to be back quickly after such an injury. It takes a strong mind and heart. I hope to have a good six weeks with Chong Wei before the Olympics. I think that will be enough to bring him back as a strong contender at the Games.
“I’m confident that Chong Wei’s dedication and determination will see him through,” he added.
The Olympic badminton competition will begin on July 28.