Lee Chong Wei, among the all-time greats to serve the sport of badminton, has announced retirement, bringing to an end the illustrious career that is decorated with all the precious badminton crowns but the coveted Olympics and Asian Games titles.
The legend who was world No. 1 for a record 348 weeks and made to the six World and Olympic finals, only to end up without the crown, broke down as he finally bid adieu to the sport.
The 36-year-old could have been on the scene for some more time, but a battle with cancer compelled him to end the career as he struggled to be at his best following the impact of the toxic cancer drugs.
“My decision to retire is a heavy one. I really love this sport. But it is a demanding sport. I thank all Malaysians for the past 19 years,” a teary-eyed Lee, 36, told a news conference, which he began after pausing for a minute to control his teers.
“I have no regrets. More important is my health, the decision to retire is very tough,” said Lee, adding that his cancer treatment was now over. “My plan to retire was originally after the Olympic Games. I made this decision due to my health.
“You know I got married in 2012. But we (have) never gone for a honeymoon. I owe this promise (to my wife), now I have to please her.”
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Norza Zakaria, who was at the news conference, described Lee as a “legend“.
“It is a sad day. Lee is a legend and very dependable. We accept his decision,” Norza said.
Indian badminton ace Kidambi Srikanth joined Badminton World Federation and the community to extend best wishes to the legend.’’
— BWF (@bwfmedia) June 13, 2019
— Kidambi Srikanth (@srikidambi) June 13, 2019
Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy also too to their twitter handle to wish Lee Chong Wei.
Really loved ur performances for many years @LeeChongWei .. ur great badminton legend and it’s very sad to know that ur retiring … I wish u the best for future and pls take care of ur health … 😔🙏🏸 pic.twitter.com/vH92YJ0Urh
— Saina Nehwal (@NSaina) June 13, 2019
— PRANNOY HS (@PRANNOYHSPRI) June 13, 2019
The three-time Olympic silver medallist also said that he would now like to rest and spend time with his family, and even take his wife on a ‘honeymoon’, a trip that has been delayed since their marriage in 2012.