KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 2 Lee Chong Wei let out a hearty laugh when asked whether he would try for the next Olympic Games in 2016 if he fails to fulfil his ambition of winning a gold in London.
“No, please, no more Olympics. London is my last,” said the 29-year-old in between chuckles.
“I may stay around until the next Asian Games (2014) at the most. There could be one more Thomas Cup Finals and the World Championships. I don’t know whether I can handle it if I get injured again.”
It was the first time in weeks that Chong Wei was in such a jovial mood after limping out with an ankle injury at the Thomas Cup Finals in Wuhan last month. The injury has hampered his chances of gold in London but Chong Wei has obviously come to terms with it.
Yesterday, he invited members of the media for a frank chat over lunch.
When told that he was probably one of the first to host such a function before an Olympic Games, he jokingly said: “Maybe that’s because I’m the richest athlete you know.”
Chong Wei is certainly feeling good again although he is still not at his best yet. His renewed optimism is, however, a good sign ahead of his third, and final, Olympic Games.
“With less than 30 days to go there has been improvement to the ankle but I hope to recover even faster,” said Chong Wei, who has been deemed 70% better in terms of his movement on court in training.
The injury has certainly upset his chances of winning the country’s first ever Olympic gold. When asked about ending his career without any majors, Chong Wei said it was difficult to compare one player with another.
“You can’t win it all. Taufik Hidayat hasn’t won the All-England while Peter (Gade-Christensen) hasn’t won the world title or the Olympics. It all boils down to the player’s determination. I will be satisfied with my career, knowing that I have given my best in every tournament.”
Lin Dan is probably the only one to have won it all, with the exception of the Malaysian Open Super Series which has been Chong Wei’s domain.
Chong Wei has been the country’s most successful player and the world’s most consistent in terms of performances in Super Series events over the last four years. This saw him holding the world No. 1 ranking for a long spell, losing it to Lin Dan only last week after skipping the Singapore and Indonesia Opens.
“I’m not disappointed as it was expected when I missed the last two Super Series events. It doesn’t matter whether I’m No.1 or No. 2 as I’m more concerned about my preparation for the Olympics. “
Chong Wei said he was enjoying the contrasting build-up in comparison to Beijing 2008.
Then, just months before the Games, Chong Wei had thrashed Lin Dan in the Thomas Cup Finals and looked good to win the country’s first gold medal as he was in superb condition. But there was heartbreak as Lin Dan easily beat Chong Wei in the final.
“Now, I’m not fully fit. It isn’t easy to come out of an injury but I’m doing all I can – especially to be mentally ready. I was the centre of attention prior to the Beijing Games but the pressure is less this time. Maybe, this low key preparation will be good for me,” added Chong Wei, who is quietly hopeful of making his last Olympic hurrah count.