In an unexpected turn of events, national badminton ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei said that he is ready to quit the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) over a spat with technical director Morten Frost
The three-time Olympic silver medallist suffered a Medical Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury while training at the newly-opened Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara on Saturday, 4 February. He sustained the injury after slipping on a court mat.
Chong Wei is ruled out of next month’s All-England due to this injury and has blamed inaction from Frost and BAM general manager Lawrence Chew for it. It is said that his coach, Hendrawan, was asked to inform the duo about the slippery mat at the new court. However, they had ignored his complaints, resulting in him slipping and injuring himself.
It was reported that the World No. 1 was particularly hurt over a comment by Frost following his injury.
"I've lost my patience with Morten. This injury is the last straw," Chong Wei reportedly said.
It is said that Frost had asked when Chong Wei would hang up his racket after he suffered this latest injury.
"Instead of asking about my condition, he asked my coach (Hendrawan) whether I would retire ... why?"
"Doesn't he want me to play on? I’m hurt," Chong Wei told The Star Online.
According to media reports, Frost had also queried him on the matter after the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last year.
However, it appears that there may be more to this Chong Wei-Morten Frost feud than meets the eye
Apparently, Chong Wei has reportedly been unhappy with Frost even before this incident took place.
In an interview with The Star, Chong Wei revealed that he has questioned the rationale behind some of Frost's decisions including stopping junior players from sparring with him during the build-up to the Rio Olympic Games last year and dividing the men’s singles players into two groups.
"There are other things too ... involving other players. Everyone is keeping quiet, but not me. I’ve been upset with him for some time, but I didn’t make a hue and cry because of Hendrawan."
"Hendrawan kept telling me to be patient and I respected that. Now, I’ve lost my patience and I’m angry... if there’s no solution, I’ll quit BAM," Chong Wei was quoted as saying.
Responding to the matter, Frost said that he "wished all this did not happen"
Several media had attempted to reach Frost earlier for comments, however, he declined.
Breaking his silence, Frost told The Star, "There is no doubt that I wished all this did not happen but I still think it’s not the right time to comment."
"I’m employed by BAM and obviously I’ve to talk to the officials involved. Hopefully, they will come up with a solution to solve this matter."
"When you work for someone, you don’t go out and make personal statements," he said, adding that he has given his side of the story and will wait to see how things will move on from here on.
Meanwhile, BAM deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria has urged both Chong Wei and Frost to put BAM's interests above everything else
"I do not want everything that has been achieved previously to go to waste because Chong Wei is an inspiration to all players, while Frost has his KPI (Key Performance Indicators)," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
"I think we at BAM will discuss with him (Frost) because maybe how things are done in Europe differs from Asia and it could be a little harsh. However, we cannot be too Asian as well, because we want to be world-class," he said, adding that all parties should give space to Chong Wei to calm down and return to normal.
In the midst of this tension, Chong Wei has dismissed the possibility of reconciliation
It was reported that Chong Wei and Frost did not speak to each other when they met at ABM on Wednesday, 8 February.
Today, Chong Wei told Malay Mail Online that it was impossible for him to work closely again with Frost.
"If BAM want me to cool down and make peace with Morten, I don’t think so," said Chong Wei.
"This is not about ego. This is about what he (Morten) has done to me and everybody has their limits."
What do you think should be done to resolve this dispute between Lee Chong Wei and Morten Frost? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.