CHONG WEI RARING TO GO

It was at the same venue almost a year ago that the world crumbled before his very own eyes.
And Lee Chong Wei is not going to allow history to repeat itself as the hopes of 26 million Malaysians rest on his frail shoulders to end the nations quest for an Olympic gold medal.
Wembley Arena was the venue of the 2011 World Championships and Chong Wei was a point away from capturing the elusive world title, what more with a win over his long time nemesis Lin Dan.
But that all changed and the scene of Lin Dan ripping his shirt off, celebrating as if there was no tomorrow, is still fresh in the mind of Lee Chong Wei.
“That was a stunning defeat as I was almost there but all of a sudden the title vanished right before my eyes,” said Chong Wei.
“I made crucial mistakes but Lin Dan dared gamble and it paid off for him. That defeat still lingers in my mind and it has strengthened my resolve to win the gold medal at the Olympics.
“It will be tough and we cannot compare the Olympics to any Premier or Super Series events, as it’s in a totally different league.
“Wembley Arena was unkind to me 12 months ago and lets hope lady luck will smile on me this time around.”
The time of redemption was then slated for the 2012 London Olympics but once again Chong Wei was hit by misfortune as he suffered an ankle injury during the Thomas Cup tie against Denmark in Wuhan, China.
Many wrote off his chances, some even to the extent of hinting that there was no way back for Chong Wei after that horrific injury, as many Malaysians saw despair in his eyes as he was taken off the court and also wheeled out of the arrival area of KLIA.
But this is no ordinary athlete for Chong Wei went through hours of rehabilitation to get back into shape, spending at times 13 hours a day undergoing various forms of physical and mental torture to be at Wembley Arena.
Not even the snub by OCM and NSC in picking him as the Malaysian flag bearer and subsequently taking him out of the march past for the opening ceremony affected him psychologically as he preferred answering the critics with a golden performance at the Wembley Arena courts.
Ironically Chong Wei only opens his campaign on July 30.
“It has somewhat been a long lonely road for me since I suffered the injury. To be honest it dawned upon me who were my real friends, who actually cared for me, Chong Wei the ordinary person,”reflected Chong Wei.
“So many had just walked away but never once did I ever think of calling it quits. Actually all this negativity spurred me on as I want to prove a point. It his not about proving detractors wrong but to prove to myself that I still have it to match the world’s best.
Having stepped on to the court almost six weeks ago, Chong Wei has been busy getting his strokes back under the watchful eyes of his coaches Tey Seu Bock and Rashid Sidek.
Hours were spent with sparring partners both at the national training centre at Juara Stadium in Kuala Lumpur as well as at the Bath University in England.
And when the draw was conducted at the Main Press Centre in London, Chong Wei was still focussing on his own game, unperturbed by the fact that China’s Chen Long was in the same half of the draw as him and could be his likely semi final opponent.
“To be a true champion, one has to take on and defeat the best. So why should I think differently just because these are the Olympics,” said Chong Wei when asked about his likely semis clash with Chen Long.
“All players here dream about winning the gold, even Lin Dan who has won wants to win it again.
“It all boils down to form on that day, how you play and how much desire you show on the court is what really matters.
“And not forgetting the element of luck as it deserted me the last time I played on these courts.”