Famous Malaysian badminton player Lee Chong Wei announced his retirement on his social media page yesterday, (13 June) after nearly two-decades. Mr Lee, a triple Olympic silver medallist, said that he is retiring despite his longtime dream of winning gold for his country because he wants to spend more time with his sons.
Revealing that he was diagnosed with nose cancer a few months ago, Mr Lee recounted how he went back to training vigorously to achieve his dream of winning gold at the Olympic games.
When he visited the doctor, however, Mr Lee was warned that there is a chance his cancer may reoccur if he continues to train. Expressing his fear of retiring with regrets, Mr Lee wrote:
“Months ago, all of you knew I had cancer. I fought it. And I thought I fought it well. I thought I could try one more time.
“I am just someone who love to play badminton. Someone who love my country. I feared of retiring with regrets. I was scared of not delivering that elusive Olympic gold for Malaysia. So when I was cleared of cancer, I took up my racquet and trained once again.
“After few days of light training, I wanted to get clearance from my doctor to heighten my training intensity, then i was dealt a major blow. From that scan, doctor shook his head and said i might face the risk of recurrence if I continue to train. Mew Choo crumbled crying. She feared i might be stubborn and continue to pursue my dream.
“I was at loss. I thought “How am I supposed to hang up my racket after nearly twenty years of competitive badminton?, “How about my Olympic dreams?””
After receiving this news from his doctor, Mr Lee took some time off and spent more time with his sons. He soon realised that he should not be “selfish” and that he should be there for his wife and children instead of putting his sport above all else:
“At home, i kept myself occupied with my two sons, Kingston and Terrence. I bathed them, I fed them, I taught them badminton. I spent time with them. Most importantly, I really watched them grew up.
“Then it struck me to finally make up my mind. I shouldn’t be so selfish. I have played for myself, I have played for my country. This time, I want to play the role of a father, for long long time. I want to see them grow up to be proper men, to get married, to have kids. I want to take care of my wife when she is old too.”
Expressing his sincere gratitude to his family, friends and fans, Mr Lee said: “So Yes, I have made my decision to quit. I’m sorry that I couldn’t make it to Tokyo this time around. And I’m sorry I didn’t deliver an Olympic gold. But I know I’ve no regrets as I’ve tried my best. My very best.
“I hope my name Lee Chong Wei has inspired you all one way or another, same like the way you guys inspired me. Without my family, my teammates, my coaches, and my supporters, I won’t achieve anything.”
Encouraging fellow athletes, Mr Lee added:
“To my fellow badminton players like the Lin Dans, the Taufiks, the Peter Gades, and Hyun ills. Yup, my time is up. Thank you for the great battles we had. As amazing as it is, i think our era should be coming to an end now. Momota, Victor, Yuqi and Zi Jia, do hold the fort well. Make the world realise badminton is the best sport on earth.
“To fellow Malaysian shuttlers, don’t give up the dream. Please remember there are actually thousands of Malaysians praying for your success. Train harder everyday. Always beat yesterday’s training records. Also, a sportsman life is short. Don’t end with regrets. There is actually a young 5 years old Ali, Muthu or Ah Meng idolising you, making you their Malaysian superhero. Don’t disappoint them. Play for the flag, play for Negaraku.”
He concluded his post, which received a whopping 127,000 reactions, by saying: “I had no regrets. When i started playing badminton, all I wanted to do is to represent Malaysia. And I believed I did it with pride and honour.
“Well. I’m done. Thank you very much to all of you. Lee Chong Wei signing out.”
To all my family friends and fans. To everyone of you who have been a part of my life, thank you. A real big sincere…