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Lee Chong Wei Criticizes Local Players For Holidaying Ahead of Malaysia Open

Lee Chong Wei Criticizes Local Players For Holidaying Ahead of Malaysia Open

Datuk Lee Chong Wei said athletes need to know when to take breaks and sacrifices need to be made to be great.

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Malaysian badminton legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei believes he knows one of the reasons why our national athletes performed badly at the Petronas Malaysia Open this week.

Lee shared that he saw on social media some of the athletes going abroad for holidays during the Christmas celebrations last year although they fully knew the Malaysia Open would start on 9 January 2024.

He added that he was not implying that athletes do not get holidays but they need to know when to take breaks. Lee, sharing his opinion as a former player, explained that it’s tough to get back into gruelling training after a holiday.

There are no shortcuts. Players have to make sacrifices to achieve their dreams. In the past, I used to take just a day off for Chinese New Year. I’m not trying to talk about how good I was, but ask any coach I played under about how my conduct was. I knew that I had to make sacrifices to succeed.

Malaysian badminton legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei
Datuk Lee Chong Wei said national players got to know when to take breaks. Image: TRP File

Lee, the holder of a record-breaking 12 Malaysian Open titles, compared the discipline of our national athletes to players from China, Japan, and South Korea.

He said the players from these countries remained committed to training even during festive seasons. There were even Japan-based tournaments during that time.

He alluded that it was the reason why these athletes performed exceptionally in Malaysia Open.

Yes, as human beings, we need rest and breaks but look at the timing. Once you’ve won the Olympic gold or retired, go ahead and vacation every day, no one’s going to bother you.

Malaysian badminton legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei

Despite his criticism, he hopes that our national players realize their mistakes and rise again.

Men’s doubles team Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik were the only representatives from the national squad to make it to the quarter-finals before losing to South Korean world champions Kang Min Hyuk-Seo Seung Jae, on Friday.

Men’s doubles Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, were defeated 16-21, 21-18, 21-13 by South Korean world champions Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae, ending their campaign. Image: Fernando Fong

The others, including women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M Thinaah and mixed doubles pair Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei were eliminated in the first and second rounds respectively.

Men’s singles player Ng Tze Yong only played for 13 minutes in the first round against Japan’s Koki Watanabe before suffering an injury and having to withdraw.

Rexy Mainaky, the national coaching director of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), issued a public apology to fans and sponsors, including Petronas, for the disappointing performance.

The former Olympic gold medallist said he’s currently focused on motivating coaches and players to reflect on their mistakes and shortcomings to better prepare for the India and Indonesia Opens next week.

He hopes players will give it their all in each tournament.

READ MORE: National Badminton Director Rexy Mainaky Apologizes For Failure In Malaysia Open

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