Olympics: Despite disruptions, Lee Chong Wei backs China, Japan shuttlers to shine

Olympics: Despite disruptions, Lee Chong Wei backs China, Japan shuttlers to shine

Lee Chong Wei (second from left, holding flag) has won three silver medals for Malaysia in three consecutive Olympic Games.

KUALA LUMPUR (XINHUA) – The upcoming Tokyo Olympics is very special due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which makes it difficult to predict the outcome of the badminton competitions, said Malaysia’s badminton great Lee Chong Wei on Wednesday (July 22).

Malaysia’s chef de mission (CDM) for the Tokyo Olympic Games also said he is looking forward to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing less than 200 days away.

“The Tokyo Olympic Games is very special,” said Lee in an interview with media from China via video link.

Citing the experience of Malaysian athletes, Lee said those participating in the Games have paid great efforts and have gone through severe tests on their mental strength, as they had to train in isolation, undergo constant Covid-19 screening and will play without spectators in Tokyo.

“This is very different from the four Olympic Games that I participated in,” he said.

Lee has won three silver medals for Malaysia in three consecutive Olympic Games. But even a veteran like him says it’s difficult the predict the outcome of the badminton competition, as the form and shape of many shuttlers remain unknown due to the lack of international tournaments since the outbreak.

“The last major tournament was the All England Open in March, in which many players were absent,” he said.

“For example, the Chinese badminton team hasn’t participated in international tournaments for over a year. So whether is Chen Long, Shi Yuqi or other many players, we simply do not know if they are in good shape or what is their latest tactics,” said Lee, referring to the two Chinese men’s singles players.

But in general, Lee sees host Japan and China in better positions as both teams are strong in all five disciplines.

“All I can say is that this Olympic Games is very special, and I think anything could happen,” he said.

Lee was diagnosed with nose cancer in 2018 and announced his retirement in 2019 before being appointed as his country’s chef de mission to the Tokyo Games.

Lee said he is now in good health but decided against travelling to Tokyo due to concerns over the pandemic, but he would cheer for the Malaysian Olympians and provide advice to them, hoping that they would finally complete his unfinished quest to win the first Olympic gold medal for Malaysia.

Lee said he has mostly settled down for life after retirement, but the passion would still arise whenever he watches one of his matches against Lin Dan, his nemesis from China.

“We are still in touch,” said Lee, “Since we both are retired, we could finally enjoy watching others play.”

One of the epic battles between Lee and Lin was the men’s singles final in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games when Lin clinched his first Olympic gold.

Despite the defeat, Lee said he would never forget the experience in Beijing, and he was very impressed by the perfect organising and facilities of the Beijing Olympic Games, which make him confident that the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Beijing would be a success.

“As an overseas Chinese, I am very proud that China would host the Winter Olympics,” he said. “I sincerely hope that the pandemic will subside by the time of the Games, and I will be able to travel to China to watch it.”

“I have participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games as an athlete. Although I won’t have that opportunity for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, I still want to be there and feel it,” he added.

News Related


TeamNL may set new Olympic record after swimming, athletics and equestrian wins

Maikel van der Vleuten and Beauville Z in action. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP / Hollandse Hoogte The Dutch Tokyo Olympic medal haul inched up to 23 on Wednesday, after showjumper ... Read more »

Andre de Grasse reveals how wife Nia Ali inspired him to Olympic glory at Tokyo 2020

Andre de Grasse revealed how his wife and 100m hurdles world champion Nia Ali inspired him to finally take Olympic gold in the men’s 200m at Tokyo 2020. The Canadian ... Read more »

Belarusian athlete Timanovskaya arrives in Vienna from Tokyo

She is now expected to head to Poland’s capital of Warsaw Read more »

Tokyo Olympics: Netherlands slam ‘arrogant' Team GB on and off hockey field to gain Rio revenge

Netherlands launched a savage verbal assault on Great Britain’s “arrogant” women’s hockey team after ending the defence of their “lucky” Olympic title. The Dutch wreaked revenge for a penalty shootout ... Read more »

Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool defender staying cautious as playing comeback steps up

(Liverpool FC via Getty Images) Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk will step up his comeback in a friendly against Bologna on Thursday but admits he does not yet know when ... Read more »

Christian Eriksen back at Inter Milan to start ‘recovery programme' after Euro 2020 collapse

(AFP via Getty Images) Christian Eriksen has returned to Inter Milan for a meeting at the Suning Training Centre, the club reports. The Danish playmaker collapsed at Euro 2020 in ... Read more »

Tottenham address ‘appalling' antisemitic comment by TalkSport caller

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London (AFP via Getty Images) Tottenham Hotspur have acknowledged an apology by TalkSport after the radio station broadcasted then failed to address an antisemitic comment ... Read more »

Bukayo Saka: Arsenal star ‘speechless' after club present him with wall of fans' well-wishes

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka has been left “speechless” after being presented by the club with thousands of letters of support sent to him by fans after Euro 2020. Along with Manchester ... Read more »

Tokyo Olympics 2020: As it happened - New Zealand athletes and events in action, how to watch in NZ, live streaming

All the action from day 12 of the Tokyo Olympics. Kiwis in action today Rio silver medallist Lydia Ko begins her Tokyo campaign with the first round of the women’s ... Read more »

Olympics: Canada's De Grasse wins men's 200m gold

Andre De Grasse celebrates after winning gold on Aug 4, 2021. TOKYO (Reuters) – Andre De Grasse of Canada won the men’s 200 metres gold at the Tokyo Olympics on ... Read more »

Andre de Grasse wins gold in 200m ahead of Kenneth Bednarek and Noah Lyles at Tokyo Olympics

Andre de Grasse finally won Olympic gold to succeed Usain Bolt in the men’s 200m in a scorching time of 19.62 at Tokyo 2020. The Canadian came home in both ... Read more »

Chinese brands sever ties with Taiwanese stars who supported their own Olympic athletes

Taiwanese television host Dee Hsu is well-known celebrity in China (AFP via Getty Images) Taiwanese celebrities have lost high-profile brand endorsements after their congratulatory posts supporting the island’s Olympics athletes ... Read more »

Olympics: Golden Ganna powers Italy to victory in team pursuit thriller

(From right) Italy’s Jonathan Milan, Filippo Ganna, Francesco Lamon and Simone Consonni compete in the men’s track cycling team pursuit finals on Aug 4, 2021. TOKYO (Reuters) – Filippo Ganna ... Read more »

Olympics: Joy for Uganda steeplechase runner Chemutai

Peruth Chemutai clocked a time of 9min 1.45sec during the event. TOKYO (Reuters) – Peruth Chemutai became the first Ugandan woman to win an Olympic gold medal in any sport ... Read more »

Olympics: Syrian table tennis player Hend Zaza, 12, to get China training

Syrian table tennis player Hend Zaza is the youngest athlete at the Tokyo Olympics. TOKYO (AFP) – Syrian table tennis player Hend Zaza, the youngest athlete at the Tokyo Olympics ... Read more »

Football: Van Gaal returns for third stint as Netherlands coach

The appointment of the 69-year-old comes after the resignation of Frank de Boer in June. THE HAGUE (AFP) – Dutchman Louis van Gaal will return for a third time as ... Read more »

Ed Clancy admits he would relish a role within British Cycling

Ed Clancy has said he would be interested in a future with British Cycling following his retirement (Tim Goode/PA) (PA Archive) Ed Clancy hopes to stay involved with British Cycling ... Read more »

Tokyo 2020: Ben Maher takes gold in individual showjumping final for Great Britain

Great Britain’s Ben Maher won individual showjumping gold at Tokyo Equestrian Park after eclipsing his rivals aboard the brilliant Explosion W. Maher produced a dazzling display under the floodlights to ... Read more »

Racing: Trainer Steve Telfer eyeing up a full Dance card

New Zealand’s most progressive harness racing stable could start its march towards a premiership title at Alexandra Park tomorrow night. But while senior trainer Steve Telfer believes his stable might ... Read more »

England take cautious approach in opening session against India

Dom Sibley was watchful in the opening session against India (Tim Goode/PA) (PA Wire) England battled their way to 61 for two as they jostled with a spirited India attack ... Read more »

Tottenham fans survey shows 94 per cent unhappy with club's performance

Tottenham fans are unhappy with how the club is being run, according to a survey (Paul Childs/PA) (PA Wire) Ninety-four per cent of Tottenham fans are unhappy with the club’s ... Read more »

Japan tries public shaming to control unprecedented Covid outbreak

People wearing protective face masks amid the coronavirus disease outbreak visit an Olympic Ring outside the National Stadium, the main venue of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (REUTERS) Japan has ... Read more »

Tokyo Olympics: Katarina Johnson-Thompson pulls up injured to kill off heptathlon medal hopes

(Getty Images) Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s hopes of winning an Olympic medal in Tokyo came to a cruel end as she pulled up with an injury in during the fourth discipline, the ... Read more »

Jason Kenny into men's sprint quarter-finals as Great Britain's team pursuit defence ends

Great Britain salvaged some pride with a new national record in the Olympic men’s team pursuit, even though they knew they could hope for no better than seventh place after ... Read more »

Tokyo Olympics: Hannah Mills crowned sailing's queen with 470 gold alongside Eilidh McIntyre

Hannah Mills was crowned sailing’s queen as she won a second Olympic gold in the 470 class but not without surviving a late French claim on the sport’s seat of ... Read more »

Jack Grealish: Manchester City closing in on record £100m deal for Aston Villa captain

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish (Getty Images) Manchester City are closing in on the signing of Jack Grealish, with the Aston Villa captain now expected to complete a British record ... Read more »

Romelu Lukaku: Inter Milan striker open to Chelsea return if clubs agree terms on £130m deal

(Getty Images) Romelu Lukaku’s long-awaited return to Chelsea will be dependent on the European champions huge offer to Internazionale, potentially up to a value of £130m. The Belgian is the ... Read more »

Sebastian Coe on ‘uncomfortable' duty of integrity as Christine Mboma sprints into spotlight

Elaine Thompson-Herah took gold, but it was Christine Mboma’s home straight that caught the eye. The 18-year-old from Namibia was sixth out of the bend and pipped American Gabi Thomas ... Read more »

183,000 Norwegians watched Karsten Warholm win the Olympic gold on their TVs and mobile phones

Despite the fact that the race in the 400-meter hurdles took place at 5:22 AM on Tuesday, thousands of Norwegians got up to see Karsten Warholm win the Olympic gold. ... Read more »

Ben Maher: Who is the British showjumper aiming for individual gold in Tokyo?

British show jumper Ben Maher and his horse Explosion W are into the individual final at the Tokyo Olympics after an impressive round in Tuesday’s qualifiers. Maher, 38, is appearing ... Read more »

Faf de Klerk and Pieter-Steph du Toit absences will hurt South Africa, says Lions boss Warren Gatland

(Getty Images) British and Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland insists South Africa will feel acutely the absence of Faf de Klerk and Pieter-Steph du Toit in Saturday’s series decider at ... Read more »

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Kiwis finish fourth in men's team pursuit after crash in bronze medal race

A riveting race for the bronze medal in the men’s team pursuit between New Zealand and Australia turned hollow on the track of the Izu Velodrome, with the Kiwis losing ... Read more »

Golf: Koh Dengshan shoots 70, leads FTAG Singapore Pro Series fifth leg by one stroke

Singapore golfer Koh Dengshan leads by one shot at Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong Course. SINGAPORE – Singapore golfer Koh Dengshan carded a one-under 70 on Wednesday (Aug 4) to take ... Read more »

Louis van Gaal returns to management with third spell as Holland boss

Louis van Gaal is back as Holland manager on a deal running to the 2022 World Cup (Mike Egerton/PA). (PA Archive) Louis van Gaal has been appointed as Holland coach ... Read more »

Laura Muir qualifies for 1,500 final at Tokyo Olympics as Faith Kipyegon and Siffan Hassan make statements

Laura Muir qualified for the Friday night’s Olympic 1500m final with room to spare, finishing a comfortable second in her semi-final behind world champion Sifan Hassan. Australia’s Linden Hall set ... Read more »

Olympics: Italy rewrite world record to beat Denmark in thrilling cycling team pursuit final

Italy celebrated wildly at the finish having won their record seventh Olympic gold medal in 1960. IZU, Japan (REUTERS) – Italy produced an electrifying finish to beat favourites Denmark for gold ... Read more »

Who are the BBC presenters at Tokyo 2020? From Clare Balding to Sam Quek

The BBC has been the face of Olympic TV coverage in Britain for as long as most viewers can remember, with the broadcaster airing its first Games in 1948. This ... Read more »

Laura Muir profile: Who is Great Britain's 1,500m runner eyeing place in Tokyo Olympics final?

Laura Muir runs in the women’s 1,500m at the Tokyo 2020 eyeing up a first Olympic medal. Joined by compatriot Katie Snowden on Team GB, the Scot finished fifth at ... Read more »

Sign up to The Independent's Tokyo Olympics 2020 newsletter

A general view shows the Olympic rings lit up at dusk, with the Rainbow bridge in the background, on the Odaiba waterfront in Tokyo (AFP via Getty Images) It is ... Read more »