By LIM TEIK HUAT
KUALA LUMPUR: The change in attitude of shuttler Lee Chong Wei is already a good reason for coach Misbun Sidek having the confidence that his charge will not let him down in the Beijing Olympics next month.
It has been more than a year since Chong Wei returned to train under Misbun and the Olympics will be the biggest test for the 26-year-old since his dismal failure in the World Championships in Bukit Jalil last year.
An out-of-sorts Chong Wei disappointed the home fans when he fell to a crushing defeat by Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the third round.
But Misbun said that Chong Wei's self-confidence had improved a lot and he was now better at handling pressure. And Misbun saw no need to make big changes to Chong Wei's game ahead of the Olympics.
“In the past, he would be afraid of certain players but he now talks with confidence on how he can beat them,” he said.
“He is coping well with the expectations that come with being rated as Malaysia's medal hope in the Olympics. He is more relaxed about it compared to previously when he tends to get agitated easily and lose focus.
“His commitment to training is also exemplary to the other singles players. I have not had any request from him coming to me with reasons to skip a training session.”
Chong Wei will be competing in his second Olympics as the second seed behind China's Lin Dan.
“Chong Wei is doing fine in his high intensity training mode before a competition. His fitness, movement and agility are at a good level,” said Misbun.
“In sparring, the intensity has increased with the juniors giving good commitment in the sessions and Chong Wei is taking it well. I will be tapering down the sessions when we go into centralised training camp with the rest of the Olympic team.”
Currently, women's singles player Wong Mew Choo also trains under Misbun at the Michael Badminton Academy in Bandar Puteri Puchong.
The Beijing-bound squad will begin training together at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara from Monday.