Make way for Chong Wei!

  • Badminton
  • Monday, 28 Oct 2019

AMPANG: Badminton fans, mark your calendar on Dec 28.

Former national icon Lee Chong Wei (pic) is set to step back onto a badminton court and you probably don’t want to miss it.

The 37-year-old, who retired last June due to his battle with nose cancer, will be playing in an exhibition match called The Grand Match to be held at the Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands.

Event organisers Ampang Jaya Badminton Club (AJBC) announced yesterday that Chong Wei will be joined by Rio Olympic silver medallists Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying, Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie of Indonesia and Malaysian Masters finalist Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin.

AJBC team manager Ho Khek Mong said the club were delighted to feature the three-time Olympic Games silver medallist and three-time World Championships runner-up Chong Wei.

“We all miss Chong Wei, don’t we?” said Khek Mong after the final day of the AJBC Junior Championships here yesterday.

“It’s been more than a year since we last saw him in action in the semi-finals of the Indonesian Open (where he lost to Kento Momota of Japan) in July last year.

“The club wanted to do an event for the local fans as the Malaysia Purple League has been deferred to next year.

“We spoke to our sponsors and all were equally excited with the prospect of Chong Wei returning to the court.

“We have approached Chong Wei about two months ago. He finally got back to us with the good news just two weeks ago that he’s okay to play.”

So, can we expect Chong Wei to play in the singles taking on the talented world No. 7 Jonatan, who he has never met in a competitive match before, or will it be a rematch of the 2016 Malaysian Masters final against Iskandar?

Replied Khek Mong: “The match against Jonatan, of course, will be an ideal situation but it’s all depends on Chong Wei’s body condition.

“One thing’s for sure - he’s definitely going to play.

“I’m sure he misses playing before a live audience and will be putting up a world-class show.

“Chong Wei will also be giving a speech to motivate all the budding young shuttlers during the event. That’s the main purpose - to get as many young kids to be inspired by Chong Wei and the other stars at the event, as it aligns with the AJBC’s Junior Development Programme.”

Khek Mong said more stars could be added to the list.

“We are in talks with a few more shuttlers, hopefully we will be able to furnish more details by middle of November,” said Khek Mong.

“Chong Wei and all the stars involved will also be putting up some items for auction and all income will be chanelled to charity.”

The tickets for The Grand Match are priced from RM168, RM218, RM288, RM388, RM688 (VIP) and RM888 (Meet and Greet).

Meanwhile, the AJBC also received a major boost yesterday when they sealed a three-year extension deal with their main sponsor AEON Credit Service, worth RM1mil until 2021.

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