Sunday, February 24, 2013
Malaysian Lee hoping to find prodigy at new tournament
(Reuters) - With Lee Chong Wei entering the closing chapters of his illustrious career and a dearth of men's talent coming through in Malaysia, the world number one said he would host an annual tournament to find his replacement.
The Lee Chong Wei Cup will be a nationwide junior tournament held in his homeland, the London Olympic silver medallist and only Malaysian in the men's top 10 said.
"It is my dream to see another Chong Wei groomed in this country before I retire. Together with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), I plan to host the Lee Chong Wei Cup," the 30-year-old told reporters in Malaysia.
"It will be good if I can start it later this year or early next year. And I want it to be an annual affair.
"I want it to be held in every state. Currently, in our academy there are not many singles players coming through and that is a real concern for me."
Lee lost a second Olympic final to his great rival Lin Dan of China last year and hinted at retirement but the twice Commonwealth Games gold medallist showed he still had something to offer by claiming the $1 million Korea Open last month.
He followed that up with a ninth Malaysian Open title and is confident of claiming a third All-England crown next month with little sign that the pressures of carrying a nation's hopes is affecting his play.
And should his tournament prove a fruitless search for talent, Lee could always look closer to home.
"We are expecting a baby boy," he said.
(Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)