Badminton Life

Chong Wei touched by the support from fans

SEPANG: There was no kompang cheering group to greet the return of Lee Chong Wei and there was no garland for him. But it was still a warm welcome home reception for him at the KLIA yesterday afternoon.

Most importantly, it came from the supporters. And the 28-year-old newly crowned All-England champion stopped to acknowledge them shortly after walking out of the airport's arrival hall under a flurry of flashing cameras.

Besides his fan club supporters, there were his family members and also 40 students between Form One and Form Three of the Bukit Jalil Sports School, who waited for more than one hour for his return.

However, his father, Lee Ah Chai, was not present as he was not feeling well.

Congratulatory banners were strung up at the arrival gate, hailing the centenary winner of the oldest badminton tournament in the world.

For Chong Wei, it was the support from the fans that touched him.

"I have many fans and their encouragement and support helped motivate me to do well in every tournament I go to," he said.

"I thank them from my heart. I will have a one-week rest and after that I will forget about the All-England. The Thomas Cup Finals will be held here (at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil) in May and I want to help the country do well.

"There are also bigger competitions to come later in the year that I have to focus on (the world championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games)."

Chong Wei, who is skipping the Swiss Open starting today in Basel, and singles coach Misbun Sidek were earlier welcomed home by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek and National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong at the VIP hall.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president, Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Salleh, who walked with the aid of a walking stick after a recent surgery, also arrived shortly to greet Chong Wei.

Shabery also announced a RM20,000 reward for Chong Wei.

"It is not allocated under the NSC incentive scheme but we are giving it as a one-off reward as the country and all Malaysians are proud of what he achieved at the 100th edition of the All-England."

Chong Wei will attend a lunch reception with Members of Parliament at the Parliament House today.

Source from The Star Online

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