Lee Chong Wei's comeback delayed
"I would like to confirm that Lee Chong Wei will not compete in the Sudirman Cup mixed team event," announced Ng Chin Chai, secretary-general of the Badminton Association of Malaysia.
"He is on treatment. Lee is advised by his doctor against exerting himself and not to participate in competition yet."
Asked whether the latest comeback delay could endanger his Tokyo 2020 dream, Ng replied: "It may have an effect."
Lee won the most important fight of his life when he was given the all-clear from nose cancer in January 2019.
After having gone through "nightmare treatment" in Taiwan the 36 year-old was back on the training court with ambitions of making a return to competition.
His comeback has now been postponed three times.
Lee initially planned to play the All England Open in March, then delayed his return to the Malaysia Open in early April, where he wanted to defend his title, instead the return was pushed back again to the Sudirman Cup in Nanning, China, set to run from 19 - 26 May.
Chong Wei bowed out of that tournament too.
"I really want to go for one more Olympics,"
Despite the difficult road to recovery, Lee has always made it clear that he wants to battle on towards a 5th straight Olympic Games in Tokyo.
"I really want to go for one more Olympics," he told the Badminton World Federation in January.
August 14 is an important date as, if Lee does not return to competition before then, he will lose the protected ranking of World No 3.
"After that his ranking will drop and it would be difficult for Lee to get into major competitions," Ng added.
"My priorities of life have changed, the dark days are hopefully over"
On April 12, his eldest son Kingston's 6th birthday, the superstar shuttler posted a heartfelt message to his half a million plus followers on Instagram, writing about his new perspective on life after his traumatic experience with cancer:
"Today is my eldest Kingston’s 6-years birthday. Daddy now don’t aspire you to be the smartest in the class. I don’t pray one day you will be a world leader. Neither do I wish you be the Badminton world champion. I only pray you grow up healthily and happily.
Just healthy and happy.
Now the dark days are hopefully over. And my priorities of life also changed. Top of my list is not to be best in world. But it is to be the best dad Kingston and Terence can be proud of.
Happy birthday, Kingston. Daddy, mummy, your lill bro, your family love you!
P/s: To all badminton lovers. Cherish your time with your family too! Life can be unpredictable at times, ain’t it?"
The future for Lee Chong Wei
Malaysia's badminton Secretary General Ng did not mention another date for a planned return, saying that Chong Wei is not registered for any Badminton World Federation tournaments after May.
"We are not pushing him. It is up to Lee to make the call when he wants to return to competition," he said.
French news agency AFP reported that when Ng was asked if there is a chance that Lee may not return to competition at all he said:
"We will support whatever he decides."
Lee's world ranking has dropped to 73rd in the world since his illness, with three other Malaysians currently ranked above him.
Lee Chong Wei's legacy is already secured
Lee's legacy is already secured, regardless of what he decides to do next.
12 Malaysia Open titles, five Commonwealth Games titles, two Asian Championships, three silver medals at World Championships, and three Olympic finals, securing silver at Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016.
The Malaysian great has spent his entire life fighting the odds to defy China's badminton dynasty, forming half of one of the sport's greatest ever rivalries with double Olympic champion Lin Dan.
Lee has racked up 705 wins and 134 losses over a stellar career, winning 69 international titles in sparkling career.
He has made a career of upsetting the odds.
Those who know him know that he is a fighter at heart.