Datuk Lee Chong Wei SO after an agonising eight months, Datuk Lee Chong Wei is free to compete in international badminton tournaments. Amid controversial circumstances, Lee's punishment was just a slap on the wrist. Many remain cynical of the whole episode, but the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will no doubt be the most relieved of all the parties concerned. Perhaps, even more so than Lee. In the larger picture, this episode has shown how much the country depends on Lee. One wonders if the BAM and other sports authorities would have taken as much trouble in fighting a doping charge if it was another player who was involved. The fact is badminton in Malaysia at the moment is Lee Chong Wei. There isn't anyone else who can replicate the success Lee has achieved on the international stage. Just look at how dismally our shuttlers performed at the recent Malaysian Open. Not one Malaysian made it past the second round. With Lee’s return, things will definitely be better. But the truth is he can only go on playing for so long and most people expect the Rio Olympics next year to be his last hurrah. The BAM has got to think hard, and think fast and make sure we can be called a badminton nation. It has been 23 years since we won the Thomas Cup although we did come close to winning it a couple of times. Our last performance in the “World Cup of Badminton” wasn't that bad but we lost to Japan in the final. This is a nation that is crazy about baseball, with football a distant second. Japan used to look at Malaysia once for badminton but now it looks like things are the other way around. Even India seems to have overtaken Malaysia in terms of depth. Yes, Malaysia might have one of the best singles players but it ends there. As for Lee himself, he will have to go all out to redeem himself. Personally, I believe a lot of good may have come out of his eight months out of the sport competitively. He would have got some much-needed rest and will be refreshed in his bid to first win the World Championships this year. Previously he competed in too many tournaments and this might have got to him when it came to the big ones. There is still a lot he has to battle against, especially those who still doubt him and the circumstances behind the whole episode. But let's give Lee the benefit of the doubt and hope he can deliver that gold medal the country has been craving. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own. Article type: metered User Type: anonymous webUser Status: Campaign ID: 1 Cxense type: free User access status: 3 Tags / Keywords: lee chong wei , RASHVINJEET SINGH RASHVINJEET SINGH Topic: Bend It Like Bedi Found a mistake in this article? Report it to us. What is the issue about? Spelling and grammatical error Factually incorrect Story is irrelevant This field is mandatory This field is mandatory Email (optional) Please enter valid email. Report issue Cancel Invalid captcha response. Please re-try again. Thank you for your report!