Badminton Life

Lee Chong Wei Wants to Snub 'Political' Functions

Malaysia's Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei has been toasted wherever he goes in the country over the past week after returning from Beijing.

However, he wants to get back into training lest he becomes a pawn in the political landscape that is currently being shaped in Malaysia.

With regional elections going on and the Malaysian ruling government being challenged, Lee feels he has been taken advantage of when attending ceremonies and dinners.

He told local journalists he doesn't like "being used". He was speaking on the sidelines of a recent meeting with a top politician.

The world number two, who lost to China's Lin Dan in the Beijing Olympics men's singles final, said he was surprised by the attention he had received on his arrival back in Malaysia.

He said he wants to concentrate on preparing for the Japan Open so that he doesn't have to attend any more functions.

"Even my coach has commented that I am attending too many functions," he was quoted as saying by Bernama. "I am also worried that after all the attention, I would be criticised if I do not perform at the Japan Open. I just want to focus on training."

Lee said he met with Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, the secretary general of political party DAP in order to thank him for the Datukship that he received for his Olympic performance.

The honour, similar to the British knighthood, is a state government conferment.

"I am just a sportsman. I hope the people understand this. Although the datukship is an added pressure on me, I would certainly use it to work harder, knowing that there is a lot of expectation of me," he was quoted as saying.

Lee also said that he urged the Penang Government to build a world-class badminton venue to further develop the sport in the state and country.

Lee was Malaysia's main hope for the country's first-ever Olympic gold at the Beijing Games.

Although he was impressive in reaching the final, he collapsed against the home favourite and world number one Lin, who easily won the match in straight games.

Lee admitted afterwards that he was nervous and unable to play his normal game.

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