The world shunned me but my wife stood by me – how Lee Chong Wei returned to No 1 after doping suspension
Malaysian star says he drew strength from his family when he was forced out of the game for eight months
Malaysian badminton star Lee Chong Wei has paid tribute to his wife, whom he credits with supporting him during the dark and lonely days of his suspension for doping and giving him the motivation to take another shot at Olympic gold.
Lee, 33, said his wife, Wong Mew Choo, knows him well because they used to be teammates in the national team and her support, along with his love for his two infant boys, has helped him get back on his feet.
“When the world shunned me, when people didn’t want to be around during my suspension, my wife was always by my side and giving me motivation,” said Lee, who plays his first Olympics as a father after losing the past two finals in Beijing and London to China’s Lin Dan.
Lee tested positive for anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone during the world championships in August, 2014.
In November that year he was given a provisional suspension, which was ratified as an eight-month ban in April last year and backdated so he could resume playing almost immediately.
Lee successfully argued he gained no benefit from a supplement he had taken inadvertently.
During his absence his ranking dropped to 181 but he has since regained the world number one ranking and still has the quality to win gold in Rio, though China’s Chen Long and Lin will start as favourites.
“This is my last Olympics,” said Lee. “It was the motivation from my wife that helped me get back my ranking.
“If it wasn’t for her, I would not have felt like playing again. She calls me every day [in Rio] and I also Skype with my son.”
Lee is seeded to meet Lin in the semi-finals and if he can get that far and overcome his long-time nemesis, he would have overcome a major obstacle in his quest for gold.