Former No. 1 Lee Chong Wei Seeks Olympic Gold After Cancer Battle

Former No. 1-ranked Lee Chong Wei is setting his sights on winning an elusive Olympic gold in badminton, even as he undergoes intensive treatment to recover from cancer.

In his first public appearance since his diagnosis, the three-time Olympic silver medalist said health is his top priority, but he isn't ready yet to hang up his racket.

The 36-year-old, considered by many as one of the greatest shuttlers of all time, told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, 8 November, that doctors gave him a clean bill of health after more than two months of intensive treatment for nose cancer in Taiwan. Already into light fitness training, Lee hopes to return to the court next month.

"I love badminton ... I cannot say 100 percent that I can comeback, see how my body is. If I can play, it’s the last track for me." - Lee Chong Wei

Lee is regarded as a sporting hero in Malaysia after a lengthy career that has included 69 titles around the world, in addition to the three Olympic silver medals. He was suspended for eight months in 2015 after testing positive for a banned anti-inflammatory drug in the World Championships, but returned to elite competition.

The cancer came as a shock after he went for a medical checkup because he felt unwell during the Indonesian Open in July.

He said he couldn't eat or sleep for days after discovering his illness, but support from family and friends pushed him to be positive.

Lee Chong Wei is targeting a competitive comeback at the All England Open in March

The treatment was intense, and he couldn't eat or talk for several days.

Lee said his medical condition is "back to normal" now, but that he needed to return to Taiwan every three months for evaluation. Now regaining some weight and his appetite, Lee said he would follow medical advice not to rush back into intense competition.

He remains hopeful of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, targeting a competitive return at the prestigious All England Open in March. Lee’s previous shot at an Olympic gold ended with defeat to arch-rival Chen Long of China in a nail-biting final at Rio 2016.

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