Game for gold in Rio

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 08 Aug 2012

Hero’s welcome: Chong Wei being greeted by hundreds of fans at KLIA after his arrival from the London Olympics. He had lost the men’s singles badminton gold medal match to Lin Dan from China in a thrilling encounter. — AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star

SEPANG: Datuk Lee Chong Wei's quest for the Olympic gold is not over. He is game for another shot at it in four years at the Rio Games in 2016.

The London Olympic Games silver medallist was clearly surprised and buoyed by the tremendous welcome he got at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport from hordes of high-spirited fans armed with congratulatory banners and the Jalur Gemilang.

Carrying posters and banners with messages such as National Hero and You make us proud to be Malaysians, the fans sang Negaraku and the patriotic Inilah Barisan Kita.

In London, the 29-year-old Chong Wei lost 21-15, 10-21, 19-21 to Lin Dan of China but his stirring display stole the hearts of Malaysians across the nation.

Chong Wei, however, said playing in 2016 would depend on his physical condition.

The world No. 2 has several options as he can play in the singles, doubles or even the mixed doubles in Rio de Janeiro.

But for now, he has another focus.

“I am serious about wanting to win two titles the 2013 World Championships and the 2014 Asian Games. I can still push myself in training. If my condition is good, I may give the next Olympic Games a shot,” said Chong Wei, who will be 33 at the next Games.

Chong Wei's main rival in the next two years will again be his nemesis Lin Dan as the Chinese maestro also plans to hang around for the next two years to spice up the men's singles competition. Lin Dan, however, has ruled out competing in Rio.

But it is not just personal glory that Chong Wei is seeking. He has another mission to help speed up the progress of the youngsters under the BAM banner.

Liew Daren, Chan Kwong Beng and Chong Wei Feng train with him but none comes close his own high standard.

The others who spar with him on and off are back-up coach Hendrawan's charges Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, Misbun Ramdan Misbun, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Loh Wei Sheng, Goh Soon Huat, Loh Wei Sheng, Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub, Goh Giap Chin and Soong Joo Ven.

“I am glad that Daren and Kwong Beng were with me at the London Games as my sparring partners. They saw what I went through and the pressure I had to deal with,” Chong Wei said.

“I hope my performance has inspired them and motivated the young ones to get out of their comfort zones.”

Related Stories: Shuttler courts question marks over marriage date Manoharan apologises for getting carried a-Wei Will the next Chong Wei please step forward?

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