Lee Yong Dae mulls comeback from international retirement, eyes 2020 Tokyo Games

Lee plans to join the South Korean national team ahead of 2018 Asian Games.

Lee Yong Dae
Lee's decision should please the South Korean badminton fans Reuters

South Korean badminton legend Lee Yong Dae, who retired from international badminton after winning last year's Korea Open Superseries title with then partner Yoo Yeon Seong, has expressed his desire to make a comeback and join the national team next year and prepare for the Asian Games.

Notably, the 28-year-old, who is widely regarded as one of the best doubles players in the sport, reportedly revealed last year that he was taking a break from badminton when he announced his decision to call it quits. Lee won a record 43 titles during his 14-year-stint with the national team forming successful partnerships with Yoo and Chung Jae Sun. The former world number one created history when he won the Olympic gold in the mixed doubles category Lee Hyo-jung at Beijing Games in 2008.

However, the weight of crashing out of Rio Olympics in the quarter-final after being touted as favourite to win the Men's doubles gold influenced his retirement decision. Since he hung up his boots, Lee has been featuring in badminton leagues across the world, including the cash-rich Premier Badminton League in India.

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Lee, who is plying his trade for Muar BC in Malaysia's SS Purple League, revealed that he would definitely comeback from retirement after the end of the one-year break and would continue playing for another three years. He also opened up on the possibility of featuring in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"I still love the sport and really cannot go a day without taking to the court. That is why I went to play in India, Indonesia, China ... and now here in Malaysia," Lee, who is expecting his first child with long-time girlfriend and actor Byun Soo-mi, said, as quoted by The Star.

"After this, I will return home to play for the Yonex Badminton Team in the domestic league [in March]. I will also try to spend as much time as I can with my family. I am now on a one-year break from international badminton ... after that, we will see.

"I am still not sure about my plan for the coming years. But if everything goes well, I would like to try get back into the national team and play for another three years ... for the Asian Games and maybe the Olympics [Tokyo 2020]."