Former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei on Thursday announced his retirement from badminton after 19 years following a battle with cancer.
The three-time Olympic silver medalist, hailed as a sporting hero in Malaysia, said it was a tough decision as he had hoped to only retire after the Tokyo Olympic next year but that he had no choice.
Although he has been cleared of the cancer, Lee, 36, said his recent consultation with doctors in Japan showed he was not fit for high-intensity training.
Lee became one of Malaysia's richest athletes after an illustrious career that included the Olympic medals and 69 world titles. He was diagnosed with nose cancer last year but recovered after intensive treatment in Taiwan. He returned to the court in January but his training has been inconsistent.