PETALING JAYA: New year, fresh start.
Lee Chong Wei has delayed his return to training until January as he has yet to get clearance from the doctors treating his nose cancer in Taiwan.
Chong Wei had expressed his desire to make a comeback in December while Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) secretary Datuk Ng Chin Chai said the three-time Olympic silver medallist may make his long-awaited return to court in “a week or two” on Wednesday.
But Chong Wei decided that it was best to wait and return with a clean bill of health.
“I think the earliest I can come back is probably in January,” said Chong Wei after penning a new two-year deal with his long-term sponsor 100PLUS.
“I need to go for my follow-up check-up with doctors in Taiwan later this month, and see what they say then.
“I’ve been constantly keeping in touch with them and they have reminded me to take it easy and not to rush it because this is not an injury. It takes time.
“It’s also better for me to come back in January and start afresh. Besides, the national team will also be going on a break during the year end.”
Three-time All-England champion Chong Wei said he was unsure whether he could play at next year’s All-England in March although that was his initial target.
“My target is the All-England, but I can’t really be sure I will come back by then,” he said.
“My desire is there. But I can’t force things to happen. Everything depends on my condition as I’ve been out for almost five months now since I underwent my treatment in July.
“It’s not going to be easy and I’ll take my time. There’s still time left because the Tokyo Olympics qualifying period will only start on May 1.”
Meanwhile, Chong Wei thanked 100PLUS for their undivided support since 2009 and their continued faith in him as their brand ambassador.
“100PLUS and I ... we’ve come a long way. The latest deal will take our partnership to 12 years,” he said.
“I’m so grateful that they still want to sponsor me until Tokyo 2020 despite there being no certainty that I’ll be at the top again after this. During the (contract extension) discussion, they assured me that I’ve their continuous backing.
“They’ve been with me through my ups and downs, victories and defeats and even when I fell ill. I’m touched.”