KUALA LUMPUR: One has seen world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei’s badminton career turn from rags to riches. The other has kept the megastar at the top level.
Yesterday, two of Chong Wei’s closest mentors – former coach Datuk Misbun Sidek and current coach Tey Seu Bock – revealed how much it would mean to them to see Chong Wei realise his dream of becoming the country’s first champion at the World Championships in Guangzhou from Aug 5-11.
Misbun, who had played several roles – as a father, friend and coach – in Chong Wei’s life before walking out of the national team in January 2011, hopes that his former charge will finally get it right.
“I have stopped being his coach for almost three years but I hear that he has never stopped working hard. His hard work will bear fruit, eventually,” said Misbun.
Not wanting to take any credit for Chong Wei’s rise to stardom, a modest Misbun hoped that the 30-year-old Chong Wei would “remember all my advice”.
“It’s not easy to play in China’s den. They are the badminton giants and have more than one good player in the field,” said Misbun, who was Chong Wei’s coach when the player nailed the country’s first singles silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
“Their fans will be rooting for them. It’s never easy.”
China are banking on four-time world champion Lin Dan, reigning All-England champion Chen Long, Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming.
Top seed Chong Wei is in the same half as Pengyu and Zhengming while second seed Chen Long is in the lower half with Lin Dan.
“I hope Chong Wei will remember that there are ways to humble his opponents at their own den.
“He has to analyse the past and not repeat the mistake.
“I wish him the best. It will be a joy to see him achieve his childhood dream,” said Misbun, who took Chong Wei under his wings when the shuttler moved from Penang to Kuala Lumpur more than a decade ago.