COMMENT | To all my family, friends and fans. To every one of you who have been a part of my life, thank you. A real big sincere thank you.
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 loves to play badminton. Someone who loves 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 a 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, the 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 a loss. I thought “How am I supposed to hang up my racket after nearly twenty years of competitive badminton?
“How about my Olympic dreams?”
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 a 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.
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.
To my fellow badminton players like Lin Dan, Taufik Hidayat, Peter Gade Christensen and Lee Hyun-Il. 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. Kento Momota, Viktor Axelsen, Shi Yuqi and Lee Zii 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 every day. Always beat yesterday’s training records.
Also, a sportsman's life is short. Don’t end with regrets.
There is actually a young five-year-old Ali, Muthu or Ah Meng idolising you, making you their Malaysian superhero. Don’t disappoint them. Play for the flag, play for Negaraku.
I had no regrets. When I started playing badminton, all I wanted to do was 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.
LEE CHONG WEI is a four time All-England badminton champion and three times Olympic silver medallist. This open letter was first published on his Facebook page.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.