KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — Malaysia’s chef de mission (CDM) to the Tokyo Olympics, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, will not be going to Japan due to his health condition and upon his doctor’s advice.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, who confirmed this, said Chong Wei would still retain the CDM post based on the decision made by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).

He said Chong Wei would monitor the athletes’ performances in Tokyo as well as give words of encouragement via online from here from the day the Tokyo Olympics begin on July 23 and end on August 8.

“We support OCM’s stand to retain him as the CDM because Chong Wei is a big name, one entrenched in the hearts, minds and soul of all Malaysians.

“The management of athletes in Tokyo will be handled by OCM secretary-general Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Najib, who will stay with them at the Games Village,” he said in an audio recording shared with the media today.

He said this after observing the final preparations of the badminton team at the Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara today.

He said the absence of Chong Wei would not be a problem since this year’s edition would be held in a completely different situation following the Covid-19 pandemic. He also gave an assurance that the three-time Olympic silver medallist would continue to be in touch with the Malaysian camp.

Meanwhile, Reezal Merican said an announcement on the medal target for the national contingent would be made a week before the Games begin.

As for today’s observation, he was informed by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann that the team’s level of preparedness now was at 95 per cent and should reach maximum level before they leave for Tokyo on July 17.

A total of eight shuttlers will carry Malaysia’s challenge at the Tokyo Olympics. They are Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles); Soniia Cheah (women’s singles); Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (men’s doubles); Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (women’s doubles); and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles). — Bernama