KUALA LUMPUR: World No 1 badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei quashed rumours and news reports that he is being guarded round the clock by Special Action Unit (UTK) offi cers of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) under the Home Ministry's instruction.
The allegations surfaced following his 43rd career win in the recent Malaysian Grand Prix Gold tournament in Johor Baru where he was shadowed by two UTK bodyguards, said to be PDRM's best, selected to protect him from unwanted attention.
"No no, it's not true. The two so-called bodyguards are actually local policemen who escorted me from the badminton hall to my car before and after the tournament. They are not UTK personnel as people, including the media, assumed. The policemen did not want the public to harass me during the tournament, that's all," Lee told The Malay Mail on Wednesday.
When asked, as reported by a Singapore online news portal, if the bodyguards had been with him since February to help focus on winning the country's fi rst Olympic badminton gold medal, he replied: "I don't know where the writer got this information. It is not true. I have my personal bodyguard who has been working for me for some years now."
On Wednesday, the Singapore news portal reported that with the pressure mounting on Lee to deliver Olympic gold medal this year, Malaysian badminton authorities decided it was best the 29-year-old is not be harassed by the constant demand for his attention.
This, in addition to an injury to his right shoulder which forced him to concede a walk over against Lin Dan at the All-England fi nal in March, the news portal claimed that the Malaysian government wanted Lee to focus on the mission ahead.
"I am recovering from that shoulder injury but I feel a lot better now, especially after my 3-0 victory over Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro in Malaysian Grand Prix tournament ," he said.
Lee has to prepare well for the Olympics and it would be best to be without interruption and unwanted attention.
The London Olympics will be from July 27 to Aug 12, with badminton scheduled from July 28 to Aug 5 at the Wembley Arena. This was where Lee lost 2-1 to Lin in the final of last year's World Championships.
Before facing the London Olympics, Lee has two heavyweight events to handle, the Thomas Cup in Wuhan, China, and the Indonesian Open in July.