Mental fatigue weighs Lee down

KUALA LUMPUR - An eight-month doping ban has taken a toll on the mind of former badminton world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Malaysia's national team coach has said.

Lee, twice an Olympic silver medallist and also twice a losing finalist in the World Championships, returned to action only last month after he tested positive for dexamethasone at last August's World Championships in Copenhagen.

The 32-year-old won his first tournament since the ban last week in New York and was going for his second in Canada this morning (Singapore time) against Hong Kong's Angus Ng Ka Long.

While the victories keep coming at the lower-ranked events, Lee has struggled with the demands of competing again as he races to get himself ready for the World Championships in August in Jakarta.

"He's not physically tired but the back-to-back individual tournaments he's competing in after an eight-month lapse is definitely taking its toll on him mentally," national coach Hendrawan told The Star.

But he added: "It's good that his world ranking has improved from No. 180 to No. 99 - thanks to his win in the US... but it's not just about world ranking," he said. "The matches are also about helping him to rebuild confidence, ease back into tournament mode and regain his touch."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2015, with the headline 'Mental fatigue weighs Lee down'. Print Edition | Subscribe