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Monday, August 22, 2016

Lee Chong Wei to quit after 2017 world meet

RIO DE JANEIRO (Brazil) — Sadness was written all over Datuk Lee Chong Wei’s face.

He struggled to speak as he choked on his emotions.

Three times he was close to the summit of Mount Olympus, yet on all three occasions he failed to reach the top.

A lesser player would have given up but not Lee.

At 33, he is finding it just a little harder to leave his young family but he vowed to keep on going for at least another year for one last shot at glory, hoping to win the world title next year.

"I’m crushed. I gave my all but Chen Long was just too good," he said after his 21-18, 21-18 defeat in the men’s singles final on Saturday (Aug 20).

He said he will play for another year before retiring.

"The Tokyo Olympics is too far away. I need to make way for the younger players."

"It’s hard to leave my wife (Wong Mew Choo) and children (Kingston and Terrence) when I go to tournaments. I left them for nearly a month to prepare for Rio and have won another medal. I’m sorry it wasn’t gold."

"The only good thing now is I can rest and take it easy for short while."

Asked if he really thought he could win a world crown before retiring, he replied: "I’ll do my best."

Lee said he hoped the results in Rio would inspire more children to pick up sports, especially badminton.

Lee’s silver was one of four won by the Malaysian contingent in Rio. The others are from Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles), Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (men’s doubles) and divers Pandelela Rinong-Cheong Jun Hoong (women’s synchronised 10m platform).

There was also a bronze from cyclist Azizulhasni Awang in the keirin.

Chen Long said he was determined to keep the gold in China’s hands.

"I knew I had to fight extra hard after Chong Wei defeated Lin Dan in the semi-finals. I’m so happy to have beaten him to win the gold."

Olympic Council of Malaysia president Imran Ja’afar described the final as "a marvellous match with a sad ending".

"Our wait for the gold medal continues but credit to Chong Wei for fighting all out. He was superb," he said.

"It was not meant to be but at least he can say, ‘I tried my best’ and that’s all we ask from our athletes." THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE

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