Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chong Wei pulls out, world No.1 blames recurring knee injury

A DAY after sensatio­nally defending his title in the Super Series Masters Finals, Malay­sia’s Lee Chong Wei has dropped a bombshell by pulling out from the Laos SEA Games.

The world number one men’s singles shuttler has been certified to be medically unfit for the Games following the recurrence of a knee injury.

In his absence, Kuan Beng Hong will join Mohd Hafiz Hashim in the individual event.

The other member in the team is Liew Darren.

Without Chong Wei, it will be tough for Malaysia to challenge for honours in the team and individual events – especially with Indonesia sending their best players.

Chong Wei aplogised for turning his back on the Games at the eleventh hour although he had been looking forward to winning his first ever SEA Games individual title.

Chong Wei has never made it to the final of the singles event at the Games. He, however, was a member of the team who won the gold medal at the 2005 Manila SEA Games.

Chong Wei said that his strong showing against Peter-Gade Christensen of Denmark and South Korea’s Park Sung-hwan en route to winning the Masters Finals had taken its toll on him.

“I felt pain on the same spot in my knee and sought the advice of Dr Saw (Khay Yong) from the ISN (National Sports Institute) after the Masters Finals,” Chong Wei said in a telephone interview yesterday.

“I wanted to go but the doctor said that there would be a big risk involved. It may threaten my playing career if something goes wrong.

“We decided that it was best that I stayed back and prepare for the Opens in South Korea and Malaysia next month. Next year is an important year for me and I want to select the tournaments (that I will play in) and do well in every one of them.”

The South Korean and Malaysian Opens are the first two legs of next season’s Super Series season. Chong Wei is also being counted on to lead the team at the Thomas Cup Finals, World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

“I may not be there at the SEA Games but I hope the team will do well and I wish them well. I will try to be there next time,” he said.

Malaysian chef-de-mission Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz hoped that Chong Wei’s absence would not dampen the spirit of the contingent.

“I trust Dr Saw’s take on this and have endorsed his decision. It is unfortunate that Chong Wei will not be around,” said Dr Ramlan.

“The others just have to soldier on and not worry about the medal prospect. All that matters is that they give their best.

“I commend Chong Wei for taking a professional approach in this by seeking medical advice and heeding it. But I do hope that he will follow this principle strictly in the future and not just when it suits him.” STAR

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