Sunday August 5, 2012
Lee Sr confident son will beat Lin Dan
By ANDREA FILMER and K.T. GOH
GEORGE TOWN: “Chong Wei can win the Olympic gold,” declared his No. 1 fan.
“He can do it!” said Lee Ah Chai of his son's chances of toppling Chinese ace Lin Dan tonight.
The 59-year-old father said Chong Wei's semi-final performance against China's Chen Long on Friday night was inspiring and reinforced his belief that the top seed was capable of dethroning Lin Dan, who is the reigning Olympic singles champion.
“He performed very well and looks fit. I really hope he can make history as Malaysia's first Olympic gold medal winner,” said Ah Chai.
He said his wife Khor Kim Choi, 58, had flown to London on Tuesday to support Chong Wei while his eldest son Chong Hoon, 38, left yesterday with a group of supporters.
Ah Chai said he stayed behind as he was not fond of long-distance travel. He will nonetheless be glued to the TV tonight as his son faces his nemesis.
Long-time friends of Chong Wei in his hometown in Bukit Mertajam spoke of the player's passion for the game, saying he had spent more time in a badminton court than home during his younger days.
Berapit Badminton Hall owner Ng Chiew Heng, 52, recalled that Chong Wei, whom the locals nicknamed Hoi Char Kee (matchstick) because of his slender physique, made the hall his second home.
“He used to come to the hall in the mornings and then leave for school and return in the evenings.
“He was here so often that his father used to scold him for skipping meals,'' he said.
Ng said Chong Wei trained at his hall in Kampung Besar, Berapit, between 1995 and 1997 while in his early secondary school days in SMK Berapit.
“During the hall's construction in 1994, this young lad used to cycle up here from his terrace house in Jalan Chow Boon Khye nearby and pester me on when the hall would be completed,'' he added.
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