KUALA LUMPUR: A 10-day distraction-free training stint in South Korea has put world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in the right frame of mind for the World Championships, which will be held in Hyderabad, India, from Aug 10-16.
He also managed to get two things done while in Seoul – get tips from his former coach Li Mao and consult his former physician Zhou Wen Wu about his back injury.
Chong Wei said that he also sparred with South Korea’s top singles shuttler Park Sung-hwan and compatriot Chan Kwong Beng.
“I am happy that my coach (Misbun Sidek) took me to South Korea. It is not that I do not enjoy training here but I just wanted some time to relax my mind,” said Chong Wei.
“You will not believe this but my handphone was silent most of the time. There were no major activities and I did not have to entertain many requests for meals and drinks. It was simply all about badminton.”
He was also full of praise for the hospitality of the Koreans.
“I was treated as one of them there. The coaches – Misbun and Li Mao – have a good relationship. It was also good to be exposed to the Korean way of training.
“Now I understand their culture better,” he said.
China-born orthopaedic Wen Wu was with the National Sports Council (NSC) when he treated Chong Wei two years ago. He is now a doctor with the South Korean team.
“It was good to catch up with Dr Zhou.
“He had a look at my back injury (which Chong Wei picked up during the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold in Johor Baru last month). I am almost 90% better now,” he said.
Chong Wei also refuted claims that he undermined Misbun’s credibility as a coach with his request to train in South Korea.
“I’ve always had confidence in my coach. Misbun has always been an important figure in my career and he will always be. If not, he would not even have followed me to Seoul,” he said.
“Overall, the trip to Seoul has been beneficial in my preparation for the world meet.”
A day after arriving from Seoul, he competed in the Mini Olympic Games at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara yesterday and reached the final without any problems yesterday.
He beat former internationals Mohd Roslin Hashim and Sairul Amar Ayob to set up a meeting with Mohd Hafiz Hashim in the final.
Hafiz, who is currently training under Indonesian Hendrawan, showed more urgency in his wins over Kuan Beng Hong (quarter-finals) and Wong Choong Hann (semi-final) yesterday.