Chong Wei dares players of this era to beat his record

BEAT my record!

Datuk Lee Chong Wei has issued a challenge to players of this era to surpass his 12-time success at the Malaysian Open. The home tournament starts today with the first round at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.

Chong Wei’s call seems like a tall order but the three-time Olympic Games silver medallist believes the players have to start somewhere.

“This is the right time. The home tournament is making a comeback after a lapse of two years due to Covid-19 and this is the chance for our players to bring some cheers at the Axiata Arena,” said Chong Wei.

No Malaysian has won the singles title since Chong Wei’s victory in 2018, which was his 12th title. The wait is longer in the men’s doubles as no pair has won since Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah’s feat in 2014.

Since the 1980s, Malaysia have never won titles in the women’s singles, doubles and mixed.

“I’m a player who values records and tradition. This is our Malaysian Open and I want our players to win it. It’s always special to win at home.

“I’m a patriot at heart. The nation always comes first.”

What is the key to Chong Wei’s success at home?

“Loud-cheering fans and self-motivation,” said Chong Wei.

“I still remember the chants of the fans. Fans have played a big role in every one of my Malaysian Open victories. They can spur a player, especially when one is down.

“My best is the 2006 Malaysian Open when I was trailing 13-20 against Lin Dan (China) in the rubber game but I caught up, thanks to the overwhelming support from home fans in Kuching,” said Chong Wei.

He went on to beat the Chinese maestro 21-18, 18-21, 23-21.

“It’ll be even more grand at Axiata Arena this year. The tickets have been sold out. The fans will surely be there to throw their support and I hope our players will deliver too.”

Although world No. 5 Lee Zii Jia seems to be one of the favourites to win at home in a competitive field that includes top seed and Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Chong Wei does not want to rule out Malaysia’s chances in other events.

“We have good men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed double pairs. It will not be easy but this is a good stage to produce results,” he said.

“The pressure will always be there but it all depends on how our players control their emotions,” added Chong Wei.

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