World number one Lee Chong Wei reunited with coach
Kuala Lumpur: Lee Chong Wei`s hopes of winning a first world title were handed a major boost after the Malaysian badminton association settled a row with the world number one`s coach and allowed the duo to work together again.
Malaysia`s men`s singles coach Rashid Sidek had been sidelined by the BAM after a poor showing at the Commonwealth Games earlier this month when the Southeast Asians failed to bring home gold in the event for the first time since 1986.
The public row between Rashid and BAM president Tan Sri Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff led to Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin stepping in to resolve the issue for the good of Lee, twice Olympic and world championship runner-up.
Friday`s intervention appeared to work, with 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games champion Rashid permitted to travel with the squad to Copenhagen for the world championships, which begin on Monday.
"I was told of my inclusion today. I am happy that I get to help the players at the World Championships," the coach was quoted as saying by Malaysian media late on Monday before flying to Europe.
BAM competitions chairman Koay Ban Hing said he hoped all parties could move on from the row
"Rashid is the chief coach. The world meet is important to us as Chong Wei has a chance of winning the title. I hope his inclusion will alleviate the bad publicity.
"I believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. I called up Rashid and asked him whether he wanted to follow the team. He said `yes` if the team wanted him. I then put forth the request to the BAM management.
"The management then approved to send Rashid together with two other singles coaches. All is settled now and we hope the team will enjoy a good outing in Copenhagen."
The row would have done little to help the preparations of Lee, who is still struggling with a thigh injury after missing the defence of his Commonwealth Games title in Scotland.
Despite the problems, Lee is favoured to lift his first world title in the absence of China`s Lin Dan, who beat the Malaysian in the last two Olympic and World Championship finals.
Tey Seu Bock, who along with Hendrawan had taken over coaching the team when Rashid was sidelined, was confident the thigh problem would not halt Lee`s chances of victory.
"Chong Wei forgets about his injury during training and this is good. I want him to do the same in Copenhagen," he said.
"If he starts thinking about the injury, it may affect his strategy in matches and also put fear into him.
"Chong Wei is responding positively to rehab and I believe he will be in near-perfect form at the world meet."