Lee Chong Wei reveals cancer has not spread but faces more blood tests and scans before he can return
- Badminton star gets green light from doctors to resume light training
- Veteran targets home tournament at Malaysia Open in April for comeback
Lee Chong Wei hopes to return at the Malaysia Open in April after recovering from cancer – provided he is given the all-clear by his doctors next month.
The 36-year-old Malaysian, who returned to Kuala Lumpur in October after successful treatment for nose cancer, went back to Taiwan during the Christmas holidays for another round of scans and blood tests.
“The cancer has not spread. I’m good,” Lee said Malaysian newspaper The Star. “The doctor has given me the green light to train but unfortunately, it cannot be strenuous.
“I can only push myself 30 per cent of what I’m capable of … I’ve to go back to Taiwan again after the Chinese New Year break and let the doctors decide whether I can do full-time training.”
Lee said he will probably resume training next week and focus first on exercises in the gym.
“I need to regain my fitness level. I’m not too worried about my skills … it’s there and it’ll be not too difficult to brush up,” he said.
Lee is targeting his home tournament – which runs from April 2-7 – as his comeback, with the 2020 Games in Tokyo his long-term target after three consecutive Olympic silver medals.
“My first international tournament should be the Malaysia Open,” Lee said. “I won it for the 12th time last year before my illness, it’ll be nice to start there again.
“I’m also looking at competing in the Sudirman Cup in China in May. It will be the first major tournament to offer Olympic qualifying points.”
The qualification period for Tokyo lasts until April 30, 2020, with 38 players to start in the men’s singles main draw at the Games.
Lee is also hoping to be joined in Tokyo by his long-time rival Lin Dan, whom he lost out to for gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic finals in Beijing and London.
Mainlander Lin will start his first tournament of the year in Thailand next week despite calls from his fans to retire.
The 35-year-old suffered first-round defeats in nine tournaments in 2018 but is still aiming to qualify for Tokyo, which would be his fifth Olympic campaign.