Let’s face it. Everybody knows Lee Chong Wei.
His popularity across the world, is absolutely indubitable. Especially, if you’re an avid fan of sports in Malaysia. You’d really be the odd one out, if you’re unaware of Lee Chong Wei and his exploits.
The national shuttler is arguably one of the best athletes Malaysia has produced in the last 10 years or so, and his constant success on the international scene has been nothing short of brilliant, even if he’s failed to win the World Championships or even win a gold medal at the Olympics.
The man is also known to be a fine human being outside the court as well. He’s humble, down to earth and is always apologetic for his on-court shortcomings. But as much as you think you know him, there are certain things about Chong Wei, that you probably don’t know and never expected. Here’s a quick list on that!
1. Basketball was his 1st sport
The badminton world would not have witnessed a player of Chong Wei’s quality, if not for the intervention of his mother. As a child, Lee’s preferred sport was actually basketball. But his mother, Khor Kim Choi, banned him from the game due to the searing heat of the outdoor basketball court.
At the age 11, he picked up badminton, after father Lee Ah Chai took him to a badminton hall. He then attracted the attention of a local coach, who wanted to take him in as a student. The rest, as they say, is history.
2. Chong Wei’s idol in Badminton
Growing up, Chong Wei always admired former world number one, Sun Jun of China. When the Penangite first started picking up badminton, Sun Jun was then the reigning world champion.
Despite his small body size, Sun Jun’s quick reflexes and lighting speed on court amazed the young Chong Wei at that time, which may have resulted in the same playing style adopted by the Malaysian.
3. Chong Wei’s weapon of choice
Chong Wei is sponsored by Yonex, and his weapon of choice is none other than the Voltric Z-Force Ⅱ. The racket has the world’s thinnest shaft and hosts the Tri-Voltage System, which increases power on the smash. T
he frame is made out of H.M. Graphite, Sound Filter, Nanometric, and Tungsten. It’s made in Japan, and it’s dark pink in colour. It’s also available in dark green. The one thing he’s good at, besides badminton, is being fashionable on the court!
4. Chong Wei’s best ‘Badminton-Friend’
No matter what sport you play, there is no avoiding rivalries among players. But it can be fun once rivalries turn into friendships. In this case, Lee Chong Wei is blessed to have a worthy opponent and best friend, in the form of Taufik Hidayat from Indonesia.
It has been mentioned by the Malaysian himself that Taufik is one of his closest friends on and off the court. When Taufik retired from the scene, Chong Wei was one of the first ones to send him a message, honouring him for his contribution towards the badminton world.
Even when Chong Wei was facing suspension due to his doping ban, Taufik stepped up in support of his dear friend. Both have maintained a healthy relationship between them till today.
5. Mixing it up in Mixed Doubles
Lee Chong Wei may be a national hero in the men singles category, but very few people know that he also plays mixed doubles, from time to time. It’s a known fact that singles and doubles category differs from each other, in a sense of playing style and court covering.
Chong Wei, however, has gelled quite well with partner, Vivian Hoo, who also plays in the women’s doubles. The pair even clinched the mixed doubles title in the Perak Open last month.