Lee Chong Wei’s withdrawal from the upcoming Malaysian Open has come as a huge blow to his Tokyo 2020 Olympic dreams. Lee pulled out of the competition despite receiving the all-clear after being diagnosed with cancer.
Even though the star shuttler had been allowed to take court after a tough treatment programme for early-stage nose cancer, the doctors had advised the triple Olympic silver medallist to not put ‘undue stress’ on his body.
After Lee travelled to Taiwan at the weekend for post-treatment checkup, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) released a statement on Tuesday saying, “In order not to put his body under undue stress, Chong Wei has been advised to withdraw from the upcoming Malaysia Open. We also urge everyone to give him the space and time required for his recovery.”
The former World No. 1 had initially planned to make a return at the All England Open earlier this month. However, he postponed the plan and decided to instead make a comeback in April by defending his title at Malaysia Open, where has won 12 times.
Missing out on various tournaments during his treatment, the triple Olympic silver medallist has dropped to 41st in the world, with two Malaysians ahead of him. With countries allowed only two singles players in the Olympics, provided they are both in world’s top 16, Lee will need to improve his rankings to not throw his Tokyo 2020 dreams into jeopardy.
Lee was diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer in July last year and has not played any tournament since then. He, however, did not opt for retirement and resumed training in January.