Wait for me, says recovering Malaysian badminton ace Lee Chong Wei as Lin Dan and Viktor Axelsen wish him well after cancer diagnosis
The three-time Olympic silver medallist remains positive that he will beat his illness as fellow players and fans around the world rally behind him
An outpouring of heartfelt wishes have been sent to Malaysian great Lee Chong Wei, who has been diagnosed with first-stage nasal cancer and is undergoing treatment in Taiwan.
Leading the support was none other than Chinese arch-rival Lin Dan, who hopes the 35-year-old gets “well soon”.
Lin, who forged a great rivalry with Lee but remain good friends, had told reporters at last month’s world championships that he knew the Malaysian was suffering from a respiratory illness, which was diagnosed before doctors discovered he had cancer.
OFFICIAL: Statement on Datuk Lee Chong Wei pic.twitter.com/00qWgEO7XR
— BAM (@BA_Malaysia) September 22, 2018
“As his opponent and friend, I hope that he will recover soon,” said Lin, who beat Lee to two Olympic gold medals in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012. News of his cancer diagnosis was only made public last weekend.
Other star players were concerned with Lee’s illness with former world champion Viktor Axelsen, of Denmark, wishing Lee “a speedy recovery” on his Instagram account.
“Yesterday I heard a message that made everyone very sad. Many times, for athletes, some people are more than opponents on the other side of the net, they are veterans who we can learn from. Li Chong Wei is a great athlete and I hope you recover soon,” said Axelsen, the 2017 men’s singles world champion.
Lee, meanwhile, remained positive that he would one day return to court, saying he was ready to launch his comeback, although the three-time Olympic silver medallist couldn’t say when.
“Wait for me. I will return to the court. Don’t forget me yet, I’m still here,” he said in a voice message to his fans. “I will return soon. Thank you for all the concern and care shown to me during my two-month recovery. I will say more when I come back,” he added in the message.
Lee’s cancer diagnosis was confirmed on Saturday by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) who posted a statement on Facebook.
“In response to recent reports concerning Chong Wei, BAM confirms that the player has been diagnosed with early stage nose cancer,” said BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria.
“Chong Wei is now in Taiwan seeking treatment and I’m pleased to inform you that he is responding well to treatment and is resting and recuperating among family and close friends.
“On behalf of Chong Wei, I would like to thank all Malaysians for your prayers and concern. Your support has been his source of strength and courage.
“We urge everyone to respect his privacy and that of his family. BAM is in constant contact with Chong Wei and we will offer any support we can to our legend.”
Lee has been in Taiwan with his wife and two young sons since July.
Lee’s Facebook page was inundated with well wishers with more than 900 comments from fans hoping for the three-time Olympic silver medallist to quickly return to action.
“Wishing you a speedy and complete recovery, Lee Chong Wei. You have shown tremendous will to overcome many obstacles in your life. I have total confidence that you will come out victorious on this sickness too. I am praying for you. Take care and God be with your family and you,” said badminton fan Lim Chee Peng.