Malaysia’s badminton legend and Chef de Mission (CDM) for the Tokyo Olympic Games Lee Chong Wei will not travel to Japan due to health concerns, an official said on Monday.

Youth and Sports Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the now-retired badminton legend had decided against traveling to Japan following health advice from his doctor. Still, the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) has decided to retain him as CDM.

FILE PHOTO: Malaysia’s badminton player Lee Chong Wei reacts during a news conference to announce his retirement in Putrajaya, Malaysia, June 13, 2019. Image: Xinhua

“We support OCM’s stand to retain him as the CDM because Chong Wei is a big name, one entrenched in the hearts, minds and soul of all Malaysians,” he was quoted as saying by Malaysian state news agency Bernama.

Lee will instead monitor the athletes’ performances in Tokyo and give words of encouragement via online means.

Lee has won three silver medals in badminton men’s singles in three successive Olympics Games. Although he could not deliver Malaysia’s first-ever Olympic gold, he still became one of the greatest sportsmen in the country.

FILE PHOTO: Malaysia’s badminton player Lee Chong Wei (R) reacts during a news conference to announce his retirement in Putrajaya, Malaysia, June 13, 2019. Image: Xinhua

Lee was diagnosed with nose cancer in 2018 and announced his retirement in 2019 before being appointed as his country’s CDM to the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

XINHUA | KUALA LUMPUR

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