KUALA LUMPUR: The improving performance of national young players will not affect the desire of singles champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei to clinch a slot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Chong Wei, who is now ranked 30th in the world, did not deny competition from young players such as Lee Zii Jia and professional player Liew Darren was getting stiffer when they are ranked 28th and 29th respectively.
The three-time Olympic silver medalist said he could still improve his rankings despite facing stronger challenges.
“Do not say I am not eligible…(for Olympics).
My target is to play in the Olympics for the fifth time. Yes, who is good will get to play in the Olympics … it is fairer to all players.
“Anything can happen. If we look at the achievements of our players at the 2016 Rio Olympics, who would have guessed that the national doubles pairs of Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying would win the silver medal.
“At that time, the contingent and the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) only targeted one medal that is me. So do not despair. In any major championships, there would be upsets,” he told reporters after undergoing training at Academy Badminton Malaysia in Bukit Kiara.
The 37-year-old player is asking all parties not to pressure national players and should instead give them moral support from negatives thoughts which could break the spirit of players.
He also confirmed he would be appearing in Malaysia Open in April after a long rest following treatment for nose cancer.
Chong Wei said his focus now was to regain his fitness and he still needed to refer to the doctor on his level of health as well.
“The coach had explained the tournaments for players to participate. From May, it is important for players to collect points for the Olympics and we cannot afford to take it easy. I believe it is the dream of all players to compete in the Olympic Games,” he said. — Bernama