World No1 has shelved retirement plans as he continues the chase for his country’s first gold
World badminton number one Lee Chong Wei has set sights on a fourth Olympic campaign in 2016 with an attempt to win the first Olympic gold medal for Malaysia.
The two-time Olympic silver medallist was planning to retire from international competition after the Asian Games in Incheon next year, but the 30-year-old has had a change of heart.
"The plan has been modified," said Lee yesterday at the Sports Institute in Fo Tan where he is in a 10-day training camp before next week’s World Championships in Guangzhou.
"Next year will be very busy as there will be the Thomas Cup, the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, but if I find my form and condition after the Incheon Games and I am injury free, I will give the 2016 Olympic Games a go."
Malaysia has never won a gold medal at the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza, capturing three silver and three bronze. Five of the medals have come from badminton, including the two back-to-back silvers won by Lee in 2008 and 2012, both losing to Lin Dan of China. Lee also took part in the 2004 Athens Games, but lost to Chen Hong of China in the round of 16.
"There is always pressure because Malaysia is still chasing its first Olympic gold and badminton is a very strong sport in the country. We want to give it our very best to make it happen," he said.
With arch-rival Lin having played only one tournament after last year’s London Olympics and needing a wild card to enter next week’s world event, Lee is the hot favourite to win his first world championship.
"The world event is a big tournament and a lot of upsets have happened before," said the top seed. "I have had a very good preparation with a three-week training stint back home and now this one in Hong Kong, fine-tuning my form and recovery. But still I won’t take anything for granted.
"China have entered four players and I will need to beat two of them before reaching the final if the form book holds."
Lin and world number two Chen Long are in the bottom half of the draw.