KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian badminton ace Lee Chong Wei will finally return home from Taiwan on Sunday (Oct 7) after spending two months there to undergo treatment for his early-stage nose cancer.
Lee, who will turn 36 on Oct 21, has been given the green light to travel by his doctors after he was initially advised to get enough rest before flying home.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Norza Zakaria confirmed that the three-time Olympic silver medallist will return on Sunday but did not elaborate in regards to Lee's return flight, so as to protect his privacy.
Datuk Seri Norza's announcement completed a remarkable U-turn, as it came just a day after he refuted a Taiwanese media report that claimed Lee was set to fly home.
Norza told media on Friday that he was in touch with Lee on Wednesday and the shuttler told him that he has no plans to return home yet.
But he has since rectified his statement.
"With reference to news reports regarding the return of Datuk Lee Chong Wei from Taiwan, I had spoken to the 36-year-old Malaysian badminton legend on Wednesday, and at that point, he still hasn't received medical clearance," said Norza in a statement.
"I'm pleased to update you that Chong Wei has now just been cleared by his medical team to return to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow (Sunday)."
"On behalf of BAM, I strongly urge members of the media and the Malaysian public in general to respect his privacy and that of his family," added Norza.
Lee first shocked the nation when he was absent from training for two weeks. Later, BAM said he was diagnosed with a respiratory-related disease.
But it wasn't until recently that it was known to be early-stage nose cancer.
Lee pulled out from the World Championships in Nanjing and the Asian Games, which took place in July and August, following a semi-final exit at the Indonesian Open in Jakarta.
Prior to the Indonesian Open, he was in smashing form when he upstaged hotshot Kento Momota of Japan en route to winning his 12th Malaysian Open title.