KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian badminton star Lee Chong Wei has pulled out of the World Championships and Asian Games because of a respiratory illness, officials said yesterday, after a gruelling schedule in recent months.
The world No. 2 has been advised to rest and undergo treatment after competing in nine events this year.
The week-long World Championships in Nanjing, China, begin on Monday while the Asian Games in Indonesia will be held from Aug 18 to Sept 2.
"(Lee) is unwell and suffering from a respiratory related disorder," the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) said in a statement of the 35-year-old.
"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 Lee's health after he failed to show up for training.
The development is a blow for the former world No. 1, who has never won the world title or the Asiad gold during his 17-year illustrious 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," said Norza.