KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian badminton ace Lee Chong Wei is "recovering positively" from his treatment for nose cancer in Taiwan, a sports official said yesterday.
But Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Norza Zakaria also clarified that the former world No. 1 is continuing his treatment and will not be returning home soon.
"Lee is recovering positively from his treatment in Taiwan," he said.
"He will stay in Taiwan and continue with the treatment. Lee will come back when he completes his treatment."
Norza said he was in close communication with the shuttler and rubbished news reports saying the 35-year-old, currently ranked fifth in the world, would return to Malaysia tomorrow.
A sports official familiar with the situation said Lee is undergoing proton therapy, where the cancer is targeted with a beam of protons.
Last month, BAM announced that the three-time Olympic silver medallist had been diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer.
He loves badminton so much and has a strong desire to win the Olympics, World Championships... Sometimes it just wasn't meant to be. He should be grateful with what he has achieved.
MISBUN SIDEK, Malaysia men's singles head coach, on Lee Chong Wei's playing future after his battle with nose cancer.
In July, it had announced that he was suffering from a respiratory-related disorder and was pulling out of the World Championships and Asian Games.
Lee had promised fans that he would return to the court, but Malaysia's national men's singles head coach Misbun Sidek has said that Lee should not have any regrets even if he decides to hang up his racket after his treatment ends.
Lee is one of Malaysia's top sports stars after a long run of success at badminton's highest levels, despite his oft-lamented failure to win a world or Olympic title.
Besides his three Olympic silver medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016, he was second best in the World Championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015 as well.
He was also world No. 1 for a whopping 349 weeks, including a 199-week streak from 2009-2012.
"He's surely one of the greatest of his era, there's no doubt about it," said Misbun.
"For some players, if they ever achieved all these feats, they would have probably retired by now. But we all know why Chong Wei still wants to keep on playing.
"He loves badminton so much and has a strong desire to win the Olympics, World Championships... But, at this point, he'll have to probably accept the fact that he might no longer be able to achieve that.
"That's life. Sometimes it just wasn't meant to be. He should be grateful with what he has achieved at this stage. We must respect whatever his decision is."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK