Lee Chong Wei in a race against time to qualify for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

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Lee Chong Wei faces a race against time to keep his 2020 Tokyo Olympic dream alive. (photo: How Foo Yeen/Getty Images)
Lee Chong Wei faces a race against time to keep his 2020 Tokyo Olympic dream alive. (photo: How Foo Yeen/Getty Images)

Kuala Lumpur: The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has corrected a mistake made previously where they stated Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei would have to return to competitive badminton before Sept 15, or it would be almost impossible for him to qualify for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

In a new update announced by BWF on Wednesday, the timeline for Lee Chong Wei’s return to competitive tournament was cut short by one month, which meant that Lee would need to return to competitive action by Aug 14th, 2019, or it’s going to be extremely tough for him to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.

This was due to the BWF ranking protection regulation that applied to Lee who was diagnosed with nose cancer last July, was only valid for a year.

If Lee Chong Wei could make a comeback at one of the following tournaments including the New Zealand Open from Apr 30 to May 5, Sudirman Cup from May 19 to May 26, Australian Open from June 4 to June 9, or the latest Hyderabad Open from August 06 to August 11, he could still enjoy his protected ranking of World No. 3 (77,383 points).

The 37-year-old Malaysian badminton legend had not played in any tournament since reaching the 2018 Indonesia Open semi-finals last July.

Meanwhile, Lee’s current World No 74 ranking is expected to continue to slide as he was ruled out of the Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan that will be held from April 23 to April 28.

Even though Lee has been shortlisted for the Sudirman Cup, but the men’s singles head coach of Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) said that Lee would still need to prove his worth before sending him to Nanning, China for the mixed team championships.

“Chong Wei still has not completely up to his own standards, therefore, I cannot guarantee a slot for him as we are trying our best to earn every possible point during the tournament,” said Sidek.

“Hendrawan had told me that Chong Wei is currently taking part in some routine training, but in order to compete at the highest level, he would have to train even harder,” added Sidek.

“Overall, we have to be fair to every players and we also have to evaluate the team’s target and go from there,” explained Sidek.

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