KUALA LUMPUR: Youngster Lim Chong King is honoured to be compared to badminton legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei.
But the 19-year-old Chong King knows it takes hard work and years of sacrifice to be like his childhood idol.
National men’s singles head coach Datuk Misbun Sidek had stated earlier that he saw early markings of a young Chong Wei in Chong King after the latter impressed with a semi-final appearance at the Malaysian International Series in Ipoh last week.
He bowed out to eventual winner and his senior Soong Joo Ven 13-21, 15-21 in the semi-finals.
Chong King said he has idolised Chong Wei since he was nine and took up the courage to meet up with him.
“I remember I was playing in a tournament when I was nine and at that time, Chong Wei was training in the same hall with us,” said Chong King.
“I went up to him to get a book of mine signed by him.
“Since then I’ve been inspired by him and I just wanted to be like him.”
“For coach Misbun to say that I can be like him makes me proud indeed.”
Chong King, a product of the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), was promoted into the national squad in December together with Ng Tze Yong and Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin.
He said he relishes the limited opportunity he had sparring with Chong Wei.
“I had the chance to spar with Chong Wei a few times when he came back to train after his cancer treatment.
“It was just an amazing experience as I never imagined I would get a chance to share the same court with him.”
“Even though he had just returned from cancer treatment, he was still so fast on court and I had difficulty trying to keep up with him.”
Before his outing in Ipoh, Chong King also reached the semi-finals of the National Championships in February and crashed out in the second round of the Vietnam International Challenge.Misbun said Chong King has been showing the same tenacity as Chong Wei did during his younger days.
“Chong King’s strongest skill is his jumping smash. Right now, he is still inconsistent and needs to improve on his speed.”
“He is eager in training and works hard. He needs at least three more years to build himself.”
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