BAM longing for the return of Lee Chong Wei

Nicolas Anil

Malaysian badminton desperately needs a hero in these flailing times, and are longingly pining for the return of Lee Chong Wei who has provided the saving grace time and again.

Lee is currently undergoing treatment for a career-threatining illness, but the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are positive he will be back in due time.

“Chong Wei has fallen many times but he has always risen. We hope he will play again,” BAM secretary Ng Chin Chai told Berita Harian.

“He has told us his treatment will continue for another month, but we cannot confirm anything. These things take time and we can’t rush it.”

Lee fell ill after returning from the Indonesia Open in July, where he reached the semifinals.

Before that, the 36-year-old was in sublime form to win his 12th Malaysia Open.

Lee’s illness caused him to withdraw from the World Championships and Asian Games in August.

Had he played, the Malaysian would have been heavy favourites to win both the major championships he has never won before.

Instead, Japan’s Kento Momota became world champion and Indonesian rising star Jonatan Christie won gold at the multi-sport competition in Jakarta.

In Lee’s absence, the national team continue to dissapoint.

Liew Daren did well to bag bronze at the World Championships, but Malaysia failed to win a medal at the Asian Games.

It was their worst showing since 1986, and to add to that woe, BAM have had to deal with betting allegations and prize winnings non-payment allegations.

The national body are currently toying with the idea of tinkering with the coaching structure ahead of the 2020 Olympics.