BA of Malaysia (BAM) secretary Ng Chin Chai has confirmed that the association’s one gold target in the Olympics remains but has assured Lee Chong Wei that the pressure is not on him alone to work towards the objective in London.
Chin Chai said BAM’s target was set two years ago and nothing has changed despite Chong Wei’s ankle injury as he feels that men’s doubles Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong or mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying have what it takes to battle for gold in London.
The only player who could be out of her depth is women’s singles Tee Jing Yi who is unlikely to get past the group stage. "The target is still one gold. BAM is not going to change that because it was set two years ago and every player, not Chong Wei alone, must try hard to achieve it. We can’t put too much pressure on Chong Wei," said Chin Chai.
"Kien Keat-Boon Heong and Peng Soon-Liu Ying also have a chance. As for Chong Wei, we can prepare him but it will be entirely up to him on how well he can perform in London."
Chong Wei, who is happy with the rate of recovery over the last four weeks, said the injury is a blessing in disguise as his main rivals will be in the dark regarding his progress after missing several tournaments the last two months.
Chong Wei also lost his World No 1 ranking last week after holding it for three years and 11 months but the Malaysian said there is less pressure as he goes into the tournament ranked behind major rival Lin Dan of China.
"My rivals are unsure of my progress and keeping them guessing will only help my cause," said Chong Wei at Juara Stadium.
"Before the last Olympics, I beat Lin Dan in the Thomas Cup and everyone started seeing me as a gold medal prospect for the Beijing Olympics. Three months later, Lin Dan came back strongly to beat me in the final.
"With the injury, the pressure will not be on me. I am just focused on my progress and I am confident I will recover fully soon."
Chong Wei added: "There is not much difference between the world’s top two so it has not affected my confidence (losing the No 1 ranking). The priority is the Olympics and not the ranking right now.
"Different players have different strengths so it is hard to compare players. Even if I don’t win in London, I will continue playing until 2014 where I want to go for the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold and there is also next year’s World Championships."
Lin Dan is set to retire after the London Olympics while Chong Wei’s fortunes over the next two years will depend on how well he keeps himself in shape.