KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad thanked badminton ace Lee Chong Wei for bringing glory to Malaysia, saying he was saddened by his decision to retire yesterday.
“I hope he can rest and recover from the disease he is suffering from.
“I would like to thank Lee Chong Wei for repeatedly making Malaysia a ‘champion’ in the sports world.
“We will feel the loss because Chong Wei had to retire,” the prime minister said in his speech in a video clip posted on social media.
The two-minute video also featured his wife, Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, who told the 37-year-old player to take care of his health.
“Never mind, Chong Wei, you don’t have the opportunity to win the Olympic gold. Never mind, Chong Wei. I think, for me, health is very important.”
She said Chong Wei had made the right decision to retire as his wife and two sons would be there for him.
“As you mentioned in your statement, you have been teaching them (sons) how to play badminton.
“InsyaAllah (God willing), you will see your boys playing badminton and getting the Olympic gold for you when they have the chance to do so.
“I wish you all the best and don’t regret (anything) as you said you have done all you could for the country, for yourself, for your family and for all of us.
“So Chong Wei, I pray that you will be blessed with good health, and happiness with your family and your two sons. Thank you, Chong Wei.”
The former world number one announced his retirement yesterday after 19 years playing for Malaysia.
Among his biggest achievements was winning the Olympic men’s singles silver medal three times at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.
He also won the Malaysian Open a record 12 times, the last being in 2018 before he was diagnosed with nose cancer.