Lee Chong Wei may play less to prolong career and reach Rio

Malaysia's world number one is hoping to reduce his schedule so he can still compete at 36

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 March, 2014, 10:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 March, 2014, 10:00pm


Lee Chong Wei, the world number one from Malaysia, says he must play a lot less if he is to prolong his carer and reach the Rio Olympics.

Lee spoke about retiring this year after winning the Malaysian Open in January.

But now the 31-year-old badminton legend has agreed with former world number one Peter Gade, who made comments on Tuesday advising Lee to cut down his schedule.

It might be that I just do perhaps six tournaments next year
Lee Chong Wei

"I saw what Peter Gade said and I think he is right. I must do that," said Lee, well aware that the Dane managed to compete at the highest level in men's singles until past his 36th birthday, "Yes, it might be that I just do perhaps six tournaments next year.

"Lin Dan [the Olympic champion from China who is 30] already does this. I need to be allowed to do this also."

Since Lin won the Olympic gold medal in London he has been allowed to compete in very few tournaments, undoubtedly helping him stay fresh enough to win his fifth world title at Guangzhou in August.

Lee, meanwhile, appears to have gone through at least three changes of mind as he agonises about what is best for his country and about what his body might still be capable of doing.

Originally he planned retirement after the 2012 Olympics in London, but after getting within a mere two points of winning Malaysia's first-ever gold medal in any sport, he decided on one more Olympics.

Then he was stretchered off with a bad attack of cramp at match point in a long and thrilling final of the world championships, and experienced further physical stress while winning his 10th Malaysian title.

Now he is painting a more hopeful picture of how to continue his career.

"I have had Yonex to consider," he said, referring to his equipment contract. "But I think it will be all right with my sponsor."