Aug 12, 2016

    Shuttler Lee Chong Wei 'stronger' after his ban

    IT IS better to be safe than sorry.

    Coach Tey Seu Bock is not taking anything for granted

    as he prepares shuttler

    Lee Chong Wei to be Malaysia's first gold medallist in the Olympics.

    The world No. 1 is strongly tipped to meet two-time defending Olympic champion Lin Dan of China in the semi-finals.

    But Tey is not thinking

    so far ahead.

    He believes Lee's quarter-final opponent - either Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan

    or Hu Yun of Hong Kong - could also be dangerous.

    Lee, who lost in both Olympic finals to Lin

    in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012, should be able to clear Group A without a hitch.

    He has Soren Opti of Surinam and Derek Wong

    of Singapore for company.

    The winners of all the groups will qualify for the knockout rounds, with the

    top two seeds given a bye

    into the quarter-finals.

    "Tien-chen or Hu Yun have nothing to lose... It's the Olympics and only held once every four years.

    "Nobody wants to come here and lose," said Tey.

    He, however, added that Lee has matured a lot since

    he returned from an eight-month ban for a

    doping violation last year.

    "Since returning from the ban, he is stronger mentally," said Tey.

    Lee showed it by beating Lin at the China Open

    in November last year and

    the Badminton Asia Championships in China in April. It was the first time in his career that he had beaten Lin twice in a row in their

    36 meetings.

    "Chong Wei knows what he wants. I hope he can win the gold. Four years ago, he was leading 19-17 only to lose the gold. Now, he has trained four years for this Olympics.

    "It all boils down to who is better and handles the situation well on match day.

    "I sure hope he wins,"

    said Tey who has been

    Lee's coach since 2002.