Lee Chong Wei

Lee Chong Wei
Lee Chong Wei
Personal information
Birth name 李宗伟
Born October 21, 1982 (1982-10-21) (age 29)
George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 60 kg (130 lb; 9.4 st)
Country  Malaysia
Handedness Right
Coach Tey Seu Bock
Men's singles
Highest Ranking 1 (29 June 200620 July 2006,
24 August 200621 September 2006,
21 August 2008 –)
Current Ranking 1 (July 14, 2011[1])
BWF Profile

Datuk Lee Chong Wei (simplified Chinese: 李宗伟; traditional Chinese: 李宗偉; pinyin: Lǐ Zōngwěi; born October 21, 1982 in Georgetown, Penang[2]) is a professional badminton player from Malaysia who resides in Bukit Mertajam.[3] Lee won the silver medal in the 2008 Olympic Games, thus becoming the first Malaysian to reach the final of the men's singles event and ending Malaysia's Olympic medal drought since the 1996 Games. This achievement also earned him the title Datuk, and a description by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as a national hero.[4]

As a singles player, Lee was ranked first worldwide on August 21, 2008.[5] He is the third Malaysian men's singles shuttler after Rashid Sidek and Roslin Hashim to achieve such a ranking (since official rankings were first kept in the 1980s), and is the only Malaysian shuttler to hold the ranking for more than two weeks.

Lee is one of the most accomplished Malaysian badminton players having won two All-England championships. However, he is still searching for his first Olympic Games, World Championship and Asian Games titles as the world number 1.

Contents

Personal life

In his early years, Lee favoured basketball, however his mother soon banned him from that activity due to the searing heat of the outdoor basketball court. Lee began to learn badminton at the age of 11, when his father, who liked to play the game, brought him to the badminton hall. Attracting the attention of a local coach, the coach asked Lee's father if he could take him as a student. After receiving the nod from his father, the coach began to train Lee after school.[6] Discovered by Misbun Sidek, he was drafted into the national squad when he was seventeen years old.[7]

On November 3, 2006, Lee was involved in a car accident. On his way to Bukit Jalil after dinner, he was knocked from behind by a vehicle which had lost control after a tire burst. He was then sent to the Sunway Medical Centre and treated with six stitches for his head injury.[8]

Lee received RM300,000 on August 21, 2008, as a reward for his silver medal effort in the 2008 Olympic Games. Also, he received RM3,000 a month as a lifetime pension beginning in August 2008.[9] For the same achievement, he was conferred with a Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (DSPN), which carries the title Datuk by Governor of Penang, Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas on August 30, 2008.[10]

On June 6, 2009, Lee received the Darjah Bakti (DB) award, from Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, in conjunction with the Birthday of Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, for his achievements in the 2008 Olympics.[11] He was in a relationship with Wong Mew Choo, his teammate.[12] However, Lee and Wong announced they are no longer together during the 2009 World Championships in Hyderabad, India.[13]

On March 16, 2011, Lee received Permodalan Nasional Berhad shares worth MYR100,000 from Najib Tun razak soon after his triumph in All England Open.[14] He appointed as KDU University College ambassador on July 31, 2011.[15]

He has hinted he could retire following the 2012 Olympics.[16]

Career

2002–2007

Lee picked up only one title in 2002 and 2003, the major achievement being, reaching the final of the 2003 Malaysia Open, his first final of a major tournament, where was defeated by Chen Hong of China.[17]

Lee then secured two titles in 2004, the Malaysia Open and Chinese Taipei Open. Lee gained a spot for 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. In his first Olympics appearance, Lee defeated Ng Wei of Hong Kong in the first round. His journey ended in the second round when he was beaten by Chen Hong.[18] Lee then bagged another two titles in 2005, his second Malaysia Open title and Denmark Open. Lee bagged bronze in his first appearance in the world meet, the 2005 World Championships after losing to eventual winner Taufik Hidayat in the semifinal.[19]

Lee then wrapped up three titles out of six finals in 2006. He was crowned as the winner of Swiss Open,[20] Asian Badminton Championships and his third Malaysia Open title. He also reached the final of the Chinese Taipei Open, Macau Open and Hong Kong Open. In the Malaysia Open, Lee pulled an amazing comeback, as he fought back from 13–20 down in the rubber game and saved eight match points against Lin Dan, and finally wrapped up the game 23–21 to secure the title.[21] Lee helped Malaysia bagged two gold medals in the badminton event for 2006 Commonwealth Games in March, in both men's singles and mixed team event.[22] Lee reaches top spot twice in Badminton World Federation's world rankings in 2006,[23] and he participated in the World Championships as top seed.[24] However, he was upset by Bao Chunlai of China in the quarterfinal despite Lee holds all win in previous meeting. The match was also marred by two controversial line calls that were not in favour of Lee.[25]

The 2007 season saw Lee failing to reach the final for the first time in five years in Malaysia Open, he also suffered an early exit in five competitions afterward and only saw him bounce back and took the Indonesia Open crown, his first title since the 2006 Malaysia Open after reuniting with former coach Misbun Sidek from Li Mao.[26] His performance at the second half of the year was solid, as he achieved three titles in Philippines Open, Japan Open, and French Open. He also managed to reach the final of the China Open and Hong Kong Open, despite his knee injury haunting him on both occasions.[27] Lee won all matches he played in Sudirman Cup in June, despite Malaysia finished only fifth in the tournament.[28] Lee's lowlight of the year was in World Championships, despite the tournament held in front of his home crowd and his solid performance during the second half of the year, he was upset in the third round to Indonesian's Sony Dwi Kuncoro.[29] Lee took a swipe at chief coach Yap Kim Hock soon after the defeat by claiming that Yap treated him indifferently and was putting pressure in his preparation for the championships.[30]

2008

Lee Chong Wei playing in the semifinals of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing

Lee kicked off year 2008 in success, capturing his fourth Malaysia Open title in five years.[31] However, Lee only captured his second title of the year in Singapore Open,[32] also the final tournament in his pre-Olympic preparations, just after five tournaments he took part, in Korea Open;[33] All England Open;[34] Swiss Open;[35] Badminton Asia Championships;[36] and Thomas Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia where Lee helped Malaysia advanced through to the semifinal where he defeated Lin Dan to give Malaysia a 1–0 lead in its clash with defending champion China. However, Malaysia eventually lost 2–3 due to the defeat of its first doubles team in the vital final match.[37]

In the 2008 Olympic Games, Lee was given a bye in the first round. He cruised to straight game victories over Ronald Susilo in the second round, Kęstutis Navickas in the third round,[38] and Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the quarterfinals.[39] He had a scare in the semifinals where Lee Hyun-il gave him a tough fight, but eventually Chong Wei was able to beat the South Korean and reach the final.[40] However, it was a one-sided final, as Lee was completely outplayed by Lin Dan and salvaged only 20 points, losing 12–21, 8–21.[41] He came second place overall.

Lee participated in several tournaments after the Olympic Games, without capturing a title. He advanced to the finals of the Japan Open, the Macau Open and China Open, but lost to Sony Dwi Kuncoro,[42] Taufik Hidayat,[43] and Lin Dan respectively.[44] In the French Open Lee was eliminated in the semifinals.[45] His coach, Misbun Sidek, cited the pressure of being ranked world number one to explain Lee's recent failure to capture a title.[46]

Lee ended his last Super Series tourney of the year, the Hong Kong Open, with a sudden withdrawal due to a knee injury, conceding a walkover to Germany’s Marc Zwiebler.[47] His last minute withdrawal led to the Chinese media to tag him as the "weakest world number one".[48] The Chinese media also speculated that three factors had hampered Lee's performance since the Olympic Games. They listed these as the stress of the Olympic final, a phobia of Lin Dan due to his lopsided Olympic defeat at Lin's hands, and (echoing Misbun Sidek's conjecture) the pressure of being the world number one.[49]

Despite Lee's recent difficulties in international play, he recorded his seventh consecutive victory at the National Badminton Grand Prix Final in Kedah on December 12, 2008, thus breaking the record of six consecutive titles set by Misbun Sidek.[50] Lee ended the year with a title in the Super Series Masters Finals, however, Lin Dan and China's other top players did not compete, their association citing injuries and fatigue.[51]

2009

Lee started 2009 season with his fifth Malaysia Open title.[52] He failed to secure his first Korea Open and All England Open title despite marching into the final.[53][54] However, he secured his second title of the year in the Swiss Open which was held in Basel, defeating Lin Dan in straight sets and marking his first win in the finals against the Chinese opponent outside home turf.[55] Next, Lee surprisingly was defeated by Chen Long of China in the India Open.[56] He cited that the loss was due to food poisoning and insisted the authorities to improve the conditions before the World Championships.[57] In May, Lee helped Malaysia reached the semi-finals of the Sudirman Cup, the first in national history, despite his unbeaten record in the tournament being blown by Lin Dan.[58] He bagged another two titles in June, the Indonesia Open,[59] and the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold,[60] despite failing to defend his Singapore Open title when he was surprised by Nguyen Tien Minh in the second round.[61]

Lee kicks off second half of the season with defeat to Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the world meets,[62] but recovery to won the Macau Open in August.[63] He reached semi-final in the China Masters, but once again failed to beat his all time rivalry Lin Dan.[64] Then, Lee participated in the Japan Open, he only manage into second round of the Open,[65] before won the Hong Kong Open in November.[66] His inconsistency saw him tumbles down in the first round of the China Open.[67] In December, Lee defended his Super Series Masters Finals title, which saw the competition played without the top badminton players in the world.[68]

2010

Lee started the year with the title in all events he took part, his first treble in the Super Series titles. His first ever Korea Open crown,[69] sixth Malaysia Open,[70] and defeated Kenichi Tago to win the oldest and prestigious badminton championship in the world, the All England Open, his first one since he took part in 2004.[71]

Lee participated in the Thomas Cup in his home ground. He managed to defeat Kenichi Tago and take the first point, despite Malaysia's eventual loss (2–3) to Japan.[72] In the quarter finals, he beat Peter Gade, thus helping to secure Malaysia's place in the semi-finals.[73] In the semi finals against China, Lee was defeated by Lin Dan, which ended his 18-match unbeaten record since the start of the year.[74]

In June, Lee participated in Singapore Open losing in the quarter-finals.[75] However, Lee bounced back winning the Indonesia Open,[76] Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold in July,[77] and Macau Open in August.[78] In late August, Lee suffered a shock exit in his another attempt for World Championships, beaten by Taufik Hidayat in the quarterfinals.[79] Misbun cited that the lost was due to the back injury he picked-up after the match against Rajiv Ouseph in the third round.[80] On September 26, Lee beat his arch rival Lin Dan in Japan Open, the only title not grabbed by Chinese players in the tournament.[81]

In October, he helped Malaysia to beat India to defend the gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games mixed team event, then he also successfully defended his gold medal once again in the singles event a few days later.[82] The following month he won a silver medal at the Asian Games. Despite beating reigning World Champion Chen Jin in the semi-final, Lee once again tasted defeat at the hands of his great rival, Lin Dan, in the final.[83] In season end, He bagged the second consecutive Hong Kong Open title,[84] and third consecutive Super Series Master Finals title, where the tournament was held in January 2011.[85]

2011

In January, Lee won his seventh Malaysia Open title by defeating Taufik Hidayat from Indonesia in the final.[86] However, he failed to defend the Korea Open title, the world's first ever million-dollar badminton tournament, after being beaten by Lin Dan from China in three games.[87] In March, Lee cruised into the final of the All England Open for the third consecutive time and retained his title successfully with a convincing straight games victory over Lin Dan, and was praised by prime minister Najib Tun Razak.[88]

On Labour Day, he won his first ever India Open,[89] and also his third consecutive Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold title a week later.[90] Despite the fact that Lee won all his matches he played during the Sudirman Cup, Malaysia's journey ended in quarterfinals, after being beaten by South Korea 2–3.[91][92][93] In late June, he won the Indonesia Open, becoming the first non-Indonesian player to complete the hat-trick in the tournament.[94]

Lee's hopes of becoming the first Malaysian to win gold in the World Championships were dashed after defeat by Lin Dan in the final. Lee led for most of the match but lost two important match points in the rubber game.[95] In September, Lee also failed to defend his Japan Open crown after defeated by China's rising star Chen Long.[96] In October, he lost to Chen Long again in bid of winning his second Denmark Open title.[97] He won the French Open a week later.[98]

Awards and honours

Below is the list of awards won by Lee, also he was appointed as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2009.[99]

Date Awards Reason
5 April 2006 2005 National Sportsman[100] Consistency and focus in game
29 April 2006 2005 Penang Sportsman[101] Performance in the 2005 IBF World Championships and 2005 All England Open Badminton Championships.
18 November 2008 2007 Penang Sportsman[102]
12 December 2008 Malaysia's Male Olympian 2008[103] The only Malaysian to win a silver medal in 2008 Summer Olympics.
23 March 2009 2008 National Sportsman[104]
12 June 2009 Winner of the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) awards[105]
9 August 2009 2008 Penang Sportsman[106]
17 October 2010 2009 Penang Sportsman[107]

Achievements

Career finals (39 titles, 20 runner-ups)

Outcome Year Tournament Opponent in final Score
1 2011 French Open (2) Japan Kenichi Tago 21–16, 21–11
2 2011 Denmark Open China Chen Long 15–21, 18–21
2 2011 Japan Open China Chen Long 8–21, 21–10, 19–21
2 2011 World Championships China Lin Dan 22–20, 14–21, 21–23
1 2011 Indonesia Open (4) Denmark Peter Gade 21–11, 21–7
1 2011 Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold (3) China Bao Chunlai 21–9, 21–19
1 2011 India Open Denmark Peter Gade 21–12, 12–21, 21–15
1 2011 All England Open (2) China Lin Dan 21–17, 21–17
2 2011 Korea Open China Lin Dan 19–21, 21–14, 16–21
1 2011 Malaysia Open (7) Indonesia Taufik Hidayat 21–8, 21–17
1 2010 Super Series Masters Finals (3) Denmark Peter Gade 21–9, 21–14
1 2010 Hong Kong Open (2) Indonesia Taufik Hidayat 21–19, 21–9
2 2010 Asian Games China Lin Dan 13–21, 21–15, 10–21
1 2010 Commonwealth Games (2) England Rajiv Ouseph 21–10, 21–8
1 2010 Japan Open (2) China Lin Dan 22–20, 16–21, 21–17
1 2010 Macau Open (2) South Korea Lee Hyun-il No match
1 2010 Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold (2) Malaysia Wong Choong Hann 21–8, 14–21, 21–15
1 2010 Indonesia Open (3) Indonesia Taufik Hidayat 21–19, 21–8
1 2010 All England Open (1) Japan Kenichi Tago 21–19, 21–19
1 2010 Malaysia Open (6) Thailand Boonsak Ponsana 21–13, 21–7
1 2010 Korea Open Denmark Peter Gade 21–12, 21–11
1 2009 Super Series Masters Finals (2) South Korea Park Sung-hwan 21–17, 21–17
1 2009 Hong Kong Open (1) Denmark Peter Gade 21–13, 13–21, 21–16
1 2009 Macau Open (1) Malaysia Wong Choong Hann 21–15, 21–19
1 2009 Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold (1) China Chen Long 21–16, 21–9
1 2009 Indonesia Open (2) Indonesia Taufik Hidayat 21–9, 21–14
1 2009 Swiss Open (2) China Lin Dan 21–16, 21–16
2 2009 All England Open China Lin Dan 19–21, 12–21
2 2009 Korea Open Denmark Peter Gade 18–21, 21–10, 17–21
1 2009 Malaysia Open (5) South Korea Park Sung-hwan 21–14, 21–13
1 2008 Super Series Masters Finals (1) Denmark Peter Gade 21–8, 21–16
2 2008 China Open China Lin Dan 18–21, 9–21
2 2008 Macau Open Indonesia Taufik Hidayat 19–21, 15–21
2 2008 Japan Open Indonesia Sony Dwi Kuncoro 17–21, 11–21
2 2008 Olympic Games China Lin Dan 12–21, 8–21
1 2008 Singapore Open Indonesia Simon Santoso 21–13, 21–5
2 2008 Swiss Open China Lin Dan 13–21, 18–21
1 2008 Malaysia Open (4) South Korea Lee Hyun-il 21–15, 11–21, 21–17
2 2007 Hong Kong Open China Lin Dan 21–9, 15–21, 15–21
2 2007 China Open China Bao Chunlai 12–21, 13–21
1 2007 French Open (1) China Bao Chunlai 21–11, 21–14
1 2007 Japan Open (1) Indonesia Taufik Hidayat 22–20, 19–21, 21–19
1 2007 Philippines Open China Chen Hong 21–9, 21–15
1 2007 Indonesia Open (1) China Bao Chunlai 21–15, 21–16
2 2006 Hong Kong Open China Lin Dan 19–21, 21–8, 16–21
2 2006 Macau Open China Lin Dan 18–21, 21–18, 18–21
2 2006 Chinese Taipei Open China Lin Dan 18–21, 21–12, 11–21
1 2006 Malaysia Open (3) China Lin Dan 21–18, 18–21, 23–21
1 2006 Asian Badminton Championships Thailand Boonsak Ponsana 21–12, 21–16
1 2006 Commonwealth Games (1) Malaysia Wong Choong Hann 21–13, 21–12
1 2006 Swiss Open (1) China Xia Xuanze 15–8, 15–0
1 2005 Denmark Open Malaysia Muhammad Hafiz Hashim 17–14, 15–8
1 2005 Malaysia Open (2) China Lin Dan 17–15, 9–15, 15–9
1 2004 Chinese Taipei Open Malaysia Kuan Beng Hong 15–4, 15–10
2 2004 Singapore Open Denmark Kenneth Jonassen 15–17, 4–15
1 2004 Malaysia Open (1) South Korea Park Sung-hwan 15–13, 15–12
1 2003 Malaysia Satellite Malaysia Kuan Beng Hong 15–7, 15–9
2 2003 Asian Satellite Malaysia Yeoh Kay Bin 5–15, 13–15
2 2003 Malaysia Open China Chen Hong 9–15, 5–15
     Super Series tournament
     Grand Prix Gold and Grand Prix tournament

References

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