Reeling from one of the most shocking defeats in his career, one of badminton’s all-time great Lee Chong Wei is contemplating retirement. However, he wants time to take stock of things before deciding on his future.
“I don’t know about my plans now. I may just retire tomorrow,” Chong Wei had said soon after his shocking, first round loss at the BWF World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. “I may decide to end it … or I may continue.”
The defeat had reverberated throughout the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. The three tiem world champion and Olympics silver medallist, however, taken the blame for defeat.
A retirement at this stage could be premature for Chong Wei as he still holds the potential to make a difference to Malaysia’s fortunes at next year’s Thomas Cup finals in Bangkok and Jakarta Asian Games. However, Badminton Association of Malaysia will not try and influence him to either stay or go. “We’ll not force Chong Wei but accept any decision he makes,” says Badminton Association of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria.
In one of the worst defeats of his career, the 34-year-old was heading for the worst defeat of his career, before he rallied to salvage the second game 21-22 and avoid a straight game upset. But, he failed to win the next, the defeat shattering the dream of winning his maiden World Championship title.
“I came here highly motivated and prepared to win my first world title. Instead, I didn’t play well. It’s my own doing,” said Chong Wei. “I can’t describe my disappointment right now, but I accept this defeat. I’ve gone through some low points in my life and I can add this to the list.
“I know my coaches (Datuk Misbun Sidek and Hendrawan) did their part. There’s no one to blame but me. I wish I had some luck in the World Championships. Sometimes, you need a little bit of that.”
Asked if this could mark the end his illustrious 16-year career with the national team, Chong Wei answered: “It’s difficult to answer this question now. My mind is blank. I’ll have to do some soul-searching. I need some time to think about my future after playing like this in Glasgow. I may decide to end it … or I may continue.
“But I’m certain of one thing – I still have the fire and passion to play. Let me go back, spend time with my wife and children. Family comes first, no matter what. They’re there whether you are on a high or on a low.”
Chong Wei’s name has been registered for two upcoming Super Series tournaments next month – in South Korea and Japan. He has confirmed that he will not be playing at Korea. For Japan, there is a commercial obligation. “I still have an obligation to play for my sponsor Yonex. So, I’ll go to Japan and skip the Korean Open,” he said.