Undeterred by cancer, Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei vows to return

Malaysian badminton player Lee Chong Wei holds a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 8, 2018.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 8 -- Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei pledged on Thursday to try his best to continue his career for "the love of the sport".

Speaking at his first press conference since seeking treatment for nose cancer abroad, Lee said he loves the sport too much to quit but would not compromise on his health.

"I love this sport and I want to be back soon and prepare for upcoming tournaments, but how quickly I will return will depend on my condition," he said.

"My doctors have advised me to take things slowly and I will listen to their advice to take things slowly.... I have started some light training at home," he said.

The 36-year-old explained he was currently training three times a week instead of the previous six times.

The three-time Olympic silver medalist said he still aims at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but he wanted to make sure he remains competitive.

"Of course the Olympic gold is still my dream and my target. All Malaysians want this," he said.

Lee also expressed hope that he would be able to make his comeback next year for the All England Open which is scheduled for March and to participate in the qualifying for the Olympics to begin in May.

Lee seemed to be back in top form this year, when he ended Japanese shuttler Kento Momota's winning streak and clinched his 12th Malaysia Open title and rose to second place in the world rankings.

But then he withdrew from the World Championships and the Asian Games citing "respiratory-related disorder" before Badminton Association of Malaysia confirmed in September that he "has been diagnosed with early stage nose cancer" and was recovering well after treatment.

Elaborating on his experience after being diagnosed with cancer, Lee said he could hardly eat or sleep for the first week.

"They told me it was cancer. Of course I was shocked and frightened, who would not be? The treatment was tough. I had to eat to keep my strength but eating, drinking and even swallowing was difficult.

Lee said that he had been tested negative for cancer in the latest test.

"I thank the support of my family, friends and my fans who wished me a quick recovery. This was very important to me," he said.

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