BATU KAWAN: Badminton champion Lee Chong Wei remains the number one hero in his father’s heart, although he failed to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games.
Lee Ah Chai, 63, speaking at his home in Bandar Cassia, Batu Kawan, said: “Chong Wei gave his best in this match. He remains a hero in my heart and forever holds the first place in my heart,” he said.
Ah Chai thanked all Malaysians who had relentlessly supported his son, but also apologised on behalf of his son for not being able to secure a gold for Malaysia in the Olympics.
Chong Wei lost to world champion Chen Long of China by 21-18, 21-19 in the men’s singles badminton final in Rio de Janeiro yesterday.
Meanwhile former badminton star and national coach Misbun Sidek described Chong Wei as the best athlete in Malaysia’s history and said it would be difficult to replace him.
“This is all history. Congratulations to him and of course winning or losing is part of the game,” he said after watching the match at Kedai Mamu John in Penaga here.
Misbun said Chong Wei showed a strong fighting spirit during the match.
“A player of Chong Wei’s calibre can only be found in 10 to 15 years to come,” he said.
At the same time, Misbun said Malaysia had talented players like Iskandar Zulkarnain, but he feared Iskandar did not have a good coach.
“Iskandar needs a good coach and if he fine-tunes his playing skills, I am sure he will become a bright potential,” he said
About 200 Malaysian badminton fans gathered at the restaurant to show their support for Chong Wei. A fan, Muhamad Khairul Idham Mustafa, 36, said he was proud of Chong Wei even though he didn’t win a gold medal.
“He remains a good player and I’m still proud of him,” he said.