LEE Chong Wei’s biggest regret in his 19-year illustrious career was not being able to win a gold in two major events — the Olympics and World Championships.
He reached six major finals in total: three Olympics (2008, 2012, 2016) and three World Championships (2011, 2013, 2015) but the top prize eluded him.
After announcing his retirement yesterday, the 37-year-old now hopes to play his role as an official in helping Malaysia win an Olympic gold.
Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who was present at yesterday’s momentous press conference, broke the news that Chong Wei had been nominated to be the Chef-de- Mission (CDM) for the Malaysian contingent at next year's Tokyo Olympics.
“My biggest regret is definitely not being able to win the elusive gold medal at these major tournaments but I have done my best for the country,” said Chong Wei.
“I now pass it over to YB Syed Saddiq and Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria (BAM president) to realise this dream.
“It is still my dream, and although I could not achieve it as a player, I hope to see another Malaysian athlete try to win it.
“I promise to do the best I can after being entrusted to be the CDM,” said Chong Wei.
The Penang-born added that he doesn't know what lies ahead of him in terms of new challenges, after dedicating almost half his life to badminton.
“To be honest, the only challenge I can think of right now is to fulfill the promise I made to my wife (Wong Mew Choo).
“Our honeymoon is long overdue, we have been putting it on hold since we got married in 2012.
“Other than that, I can't think of any challenges yet. I need a lot of rest right now,” he added.
Chong Wei, who was diagnosed with nose cancer last year, has finally called time on his career, admitting he cannot get back to his best.
Despite being cleared of cancer, Chong Wei has been advised by his doctor in Taiwan not to put his ageing body under undue stress.
His last appearance in a tournament was when he reached the semi-finals of the Indonesia Open in July 2018, before going down to eventual champion, Kento Momota of Japan.
Just a week earlier, Chong Wei bagged a record 12th Malaysia Open crown when he saw off Momota in a titanic battle at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.