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A SILVER: Be proud of Chong Wei’s effort
LONDON: HE may have lost but Malaysia has every reason to be proud of Datuk Lee Chong Wei.
There was no dishonour in losing to Lin Dan in the London Olympics men’s singles badminton final for Chong Wei, despite the odds being stacked against him, came within two points of becoming the nation’s first ever gold medallist.
China’s star won 15-21, 21-10, 21-19 in a marathon 79 minutes.
Lin Dan is the best men’s singles player ever — winning Olympic gold for the second time — but had the crucial moments of the match been in favour of Chong Wei, it would have been the Negaraku that was played at the victory ceremony instead of China’s national anthem.
Chong Wei, still choking with emotion, said he hoped Malaysia would forgive him.
“I know the nation was with me and I am so disappointed not to have delivered. However, I hope that Malaysians understand that I tried very hard.
“I also thank everyone for the support that I have received and this will motivate me to work harder,” said Chong Wei.
There was only support and admiration for the shuttler though from those at Wembley Arena.
The prime minister’s wife and Badminton Association of Malaysia patron, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who was in London to witness Chong Wei’s performance, paid tribute to the shuttler.
“The people of Malaysia can be sure that Chong Wei tried his very best and we must all be proud of him,” said Rosmah.
Chef-de-mission Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid said although Chong Wei had fallen short, he was proud of his effort.
"Chong Wei nearly reached the pinnacle of Mount Everest but fell two steps short.
"I am, and I am sure Malaysia is, very proud of his outstanding effort and we all must join hands and applaud him," Ahmad Sarji said.
National Sports Council director- general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong echoed Ahmad Sarji's words.
"We can't fault Chong Wei for his tremendous effort and superb display. He could have easily been the gold medallist but luck didn't favour him," Zolkples said.
For coaches Rashid Sidek and Tey Seu Bock, the two people closest to the shuttler, it was a case of deja vu.
Tey said: "Chong Wei did everything right in the final.
"But when it came to the crucial stages where luck, and not strategy, was required, Lin Dan had the good cards."
The crucial turning point was when Chong Wei led 18-16 in the third game, when a shot from Lin Dan saw the shuttle hitting the net cord and trickling over.
"Several earlier similar attempts by the Chinese star had failed but when he needed it, it worked.
"Once that happened, Lin Dan's mental strength saw him through but Malaysia must be proud of Chong Wei," said Rashid, a bronze medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.