Malaysia's badminton player Lee Chong Wei gives a thumbs up after a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 8, 2018. (MOHD RASFAN / AFP)
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei says he is aiming to return to competition by April, in time for the Malaysia Open.
Speaking on Monday after his first training session after the Chinese New Year holiday, the shuttler said he would gradually intensify his training regime in preparation for the Malaysia Open, but would wait for the green light from his doctor in March.
Lee has been out of action since mid-2018 after being diagnosed with early stage nose cancer. He explained that his participation in the tournament and his return to full training would depend on the results of his check-up next month, but his name would be submitted by the Badminton Association of Malaysia.
"So far I'm okay on court and at the gym. What is important is to build muscle and my feeling on court and so far everything is okay, maybe in one or two weeks I'll be back to normal fitness. That is important for me now.
In this May 23, 2018 photo, Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia hits a return against Viktor Axelsen (not in frame) of Denmark during their men's singles match at the Thomas and Uber Cup in Bangkok. (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)
"I spent one hour and 15 minutes on court and another hour in the gym. Now I will rest and be back on Wednesday. I must push myself slowly, and when the doctor gives me the green light, I will do my full training," he said.
Lee had previously been reported to be targeting a return for the All-England in March but had to abort his plan following his doctor's advice.
However, the 36-year-old wants to return to defend his title at the Malaysia Open in April. The former world number one holds the record of having won the tournament 12 times, including beating current world number one Kento Momota of Japan last year before his diagnosis.
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