KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian badminton star Lee Chong Wei has pulled out of the World Championships and Asian Games because of a respiratory illness, officials said Wednesday (July 25), after a gruelling schedule in recent months.
The world No. 2 has been advised to rest and undergo treatment after competing in nine tournaments so far this year.
The week-long World Championships in Nanjing, China, begin on Monday while the Asian Games in Indonesia are from August 18 to September 2.
"(Lee) is unwell and suffering from a respiratory related disorder," the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) said in a statement.
"For the time being, he cannot undergo any intensive physical activity for a period of at least one month and therefore we have to withdraw Lee from his participation at the BWF World Championships... and the Asian Games."
BAM did not give any further details about the three-time Olympic silver medallist's illness. Speculation had been mounting over the past week about the 35-year-old's health after he failed to show up for training.
The development is a blow for the former world number one, who has never won gold at either the World Championships or the Asian Games during a stellar 17-year career.
His achievements this year include winning the men's singles gold at the Commonwealth Games and clinching his 12th Malaysian Open title.
BAM president Norza Zakaria said he had met Lee and supports his decision to rest.
"We do not want the pressure of competition to impose a toll on his health. We look forward to his return to competition, he told AFP.