KUALA LUMPUR: The Tokyo Olympics are near, with the opening ceremony taking place on Friday and Malaysians taking action even earlier, with archer Syaqiera Mashayikh the first to see action on Friday morning.
Malaysia’s most decorated Olympic and badminton legend, Lee Chong Wei, is no longer a contestant, but is the mission chief (CDM) and believes the Tokyo Olympics will be very special and very unpredictable due to the Covid pandemic. 19.
“The Tokyo Olympics are very special,” Xinhua said, citing Lee, in an interview with Chinese media via a video link.
Citing the experience of Malaysian athletes, Lee said those who took part in the Games have made great efforts and gone through severe mental tests as they had to train in isolation, undergo a constant screening of Covid- 19 and will have to play without spectators in Tokyo.
“This is very different from the four Olympics I participated in,” he said.
Chong Wei has won three silver medals for Malaysia in three consecutive Olympics. But even a veteran like him says it is difficult to predict the outcome of the badminton competition, as the shape and form of many pitchers are unknown due to the lack of international tournaments since the outbreak.
“The last big tournament was the March English Open, in which a lot of players weren’t present,” he said.
“For example, the Chinese badminton team has not participated in international tournaments for more than a year. So we just don’t know if Chen Long, Shi Yuqi or other players are in good shape or what their latest tactics are, ”Chong Wei said, referring to the two Chinese men’s individual players.
But overall, Chong Wei sees host Japan and China in a better position, as they are strong in all five disciplines. “All I can say is that these Olympics are very special and I think anything can happen,” he said.
Chong Wei was diagnosed with nose cancer in 2018 and announced his retirement in 2019 before being named the head of mission for the Tokyo Olympics.
He is now in good health, but decided not to travel to Tokyo due to concern over the pandemic, but will cheer on the Malaysian Olympians and give advice from Malaysia, hoping they will finally complete their unfinished quest to win. the country’s first Olympic gold medal. .
Chong Wei said most things had settled into life after retiring, but his passion for playing would still arise every time he watched one of his matches against Lin Dan, his enemy from China.
“We’re still in touch,” Chong Wei said, “Since we’re both retired, we can finally enjoy watching others play.”
One of the epic battles between Chong Wei and Lin Dan was the men’s singles final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when Lin Dan won his first Olympic gold.
Despite the defeat, Chong Wei said he would never forget the experience in Beijing, and was very impressed by the organization and perfect facilities of the Beijing Olympics.
“I participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as an athlete. Although I will not have this opportunity for the 2022 Winter Olympics, I still want to be there and feel it, ”he added. China will host the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, less than 200 days away.