RIO DE JANEIRO: Next year’s World Championships will be Lee Chong Wei’s final call in the international stage as he wants to retire with the elusive world title after missing the Olympics gold medal.
Having qualified four times for the finals at the World Championships, the 33-year-old shuttler has yet to claim the title as a world champion and next year’s edition will be his swansong for his illustrious career.
“One more year to go before the final stop as other Malaysian shuttlers must fill in the gap,” said Chong Wei after an agonising exit in his final Olympics in Rio.
Chong Wei was the runner-up at four World Championships in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 but his 2014 achievement in Copenhagen, Denmark, was stripped for a doping offence, and he was banned for eight months.
In the men’s singles final at the Rio Olympics, China’s Chen Long beat Chong Wei in straight sets 21-18, 21-18, ending the Malaysian golden dream of a first ever gold medal in the country’s history.
On his gold medal match, Chong Wei admitted it was an end, which he did not dream of, as he was hoping to meet his nemesis Lin Dan in the final farewell for both celebrated stars.
He also admitted that Chen Long was simply the better player on the day and he tried his best to win Malaysia’s first gold medal but could not get past the Great Wall of China shuttler.
“I made mistakes at the net and it proved fatal.
Chen Long was in unbeatable form,” said Chong Wei, who was denied the medal in two previous Games by Lin Dan in 2008 and 2010.
“I have to accept that my Olympics career ends with silver,” said the three silver-medallist winner on his fourth Olympics.