China national badminton head coach Li Yongbo said Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei may have already become a world champion if the latter had trained under his team.
Li made the comment to China-based sina.cn shortly after China’s Chen Long defeated Lee in the closely-fought badminton men’s singles final at the Rio Olympics last Saturday.
Praising Lee’s stellar performance, including his defeat of China’s Lin Dan in the semi-finals, Li said he would be proud if the Malaysian player was on his team.
Li then went on to say: “Of course, if he was on my team, he may have already become world champion.”
Meanwhile, Lee’s former coach Misbun Sidek lamented that the Olympic gold medal continued to elude the Malaysian national badminton team due to lack of funding.
He said he had eight years ago proposed reforms to the national badminton training system, which he described as “outdated”, but they were rejected.
“I previously accepted Li’s invitation to visit their training centre and was impressed by its size and modernity,” Misbun was quoted as saying by China Press.
He added that for Lin Dan alone, who is seen as Lee’s arch-rival, there was a team of seven people dedicated to training the Chinese player.
The team took care of Lin Dan’s physical, psychological and focused training as well as monitoring his diet, he was quoted as saying.
“Malaysia lags behind in this aspect as the allocation given to coaches is not much,” he was quoted as saying.
In the context of Lee’s games at the Rio Olympics, he said there were no specialists to give the player “golden pointers”, study his past games and identify the mistakes as well as to provide psychological support.
Misbun said Lee was also exhausted after his gruelling duel with Lin Dan before meeting Chen Long in the final.
Despite the apparent shortcomings pointed out by Misbun, Malaysia’s badminton team gave a good showing, contributing to the country’s best Olympics performance.