KUALA LUMPUR: The national training camp was abuzz with excitement as Lee Chong Wei makes his return to the Academy Badminton Malaysia in Bukit Kiara after five months.
The former world No. 1 was seen breaking a sweat at the gymnasium for the first time since he was sidelined with nose cancer in July last year.
He was seen performing light workout routines like squats, crunches and bench presses starting around 9.30am.
His training session, which took about an hour, was closely monitored by a physiotherapist from the National Sports Institute.
National men’s singles coaches Datuk Misbun Sidek (head coach) and Hendrawan, together with women’s singles head coach Datuk Tey Seu Bock joined him after they finished coaching their players during the morning training session.
The coaches chatted with him whenever he took a breather.
“It’s just great to be back to ABM after five months … I’ve missed it,” said the 36-year-old.
“I’ve missed everyone here and it’s good to meet them.”
The workout at the complex, albeit a short session, is positive progress for Chong Wei who intends to make a comeback at the Malaysian Open in April.
The Malaysian Open was the last title won by Chong Wei after defeating the current world No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan in a ruthless fashion in the final in July last year.
Chong Wei’s teammates are glad to see their senior back in action too and can’t wait to spar with the three-time Olympic Games silver medallist.
Soong Joo Ven said the mere presence of Chong Wei was a boost to the men’s singles team.
“His return from his battle with cancer is an inspiration to us. We’re looking forward to enjoying quality training with him,” said Joo Ven.
“He used to advise and teach us during training, we missed him and are eager to train with him again.”
Talented junior player Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin, who is currently on a three-month probation in the senior team also hopes to get his chance to train with his idol for the first time.
“I grew up watching him play; he is a legend to me and many of my friends growing up. I’m excited to see what is it like to train with him and learn from him,” said Aidil, who was invited to join BAM recently after his good showing under the tutelage of Rashid Sidek at the Sports Affair badminton club.