KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — Lee Chong Wei is eagerly waiting for July 1.
That is the date the most decorated Malaysian shuttler will be reunited with the person he considers a “father” — Datuk Misbun Sidek, 57, who was confirmed by BA of Malaysia as their new men’s singles head coach.
Misbun was Chong Wei’s coach between 2003 and 2011.
“Misbun is more than a coach to me. He is like a father,” said the three-time Olympic silver medallist.
“I have met him seven or eight times to ask him to return, but he only said he will think about it.”
It was Misbun who transformed Chong Wei into a world class talent and almost guided the latter into an Olympic champion, only to be denied glory by the indomitable Lin Dan of China in the 2008 final in Beijing.
Three years later, a fall out between Misbun and BAM led to the charismatic coach leaving the national body.
“I knew he did not want to leave, but someone was challenging his authority. I cried when he left.”
Chong Wei soldiered on, and managed to qualify for his second Olympic final a year later, this time under Tey Seu Bock’s guidance in London.
Again, he could not break his hoodoo, losing to “bogeyman” Lin Dan in the final after an impressive showing in the semis, defeating China fast rising shuttler Chen Long.
Five year later, there are signs of agitation from Chong Wei. Something was not right with the lad from Bukit Mertajam even though he managed to add another silver to his collection in Rio last year.
His family life was complete, having married his childhood sweetheart, Wong Mew Choo in 2012 and being blessed with son Kingston, a year later and Terrance in 2015.
But his professional career was not the same, having seen his world No 1 ranking slip to third this month.
He has also fallen out with technical director Morten Frost.
The latest setback came on Thursday when he lost to India’s HS Prannoy in the second round of the Indonesian Open.
With age not at his side, Chong Wei realised he needed Misbun more than ever to revive his career and regain his mojo.
The wheels were set in motion when Chong Wei set up a meeting between Misbun and BAM president, Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria in May.
Chong Wei knows Misbun is a taskmaster, but it was not all work and no play.
“He was serious but knew when to relax,” said Chong Wei.
“Training will be tough. The juniors will have to be ready.
“Misbun has trained, three former champions in the Hashim brothers — Roslin and Hafiz — and myself.
“The juniors must trust him. Misbun has his methods.”