Lee Chong Wei announces his retirement and bids adieu to badminton
Regarded as a stalwart of the sport, Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei has enjoyed his stay as the number one ranked badminton player in the BWF rankings. Over the last year, Chong Wei has had to sit out several tournaments due to medical problems.
On 13th June, 2019, Lee Chong Wei summoned a press conference to break the news of his retirement with a very heavy heart. The Malaysian champion broke down, severely overcome by the emotion of parting from the game he loves so much while making his decision to retire public.
"My decision to retire is a heavy one. I really love this sport. But it is a demanding sport. I thank all Malaysians for the past 19 years," a teary-eyed Lee, 36, told the attendees at the press conference.
The 36-year old star shuttler has been one of the finest players in the professional circuit of badminton for most of his rewarding 19-year old career. Lee spent a total of 348 weeks as World No. 1 but lost six World and Olympic finals.
Considered to be a sheer legend of the sport, Lee was diagnosed with early stage nose cancer in July 2018. Since then, things have not been the same for the Malaysian who dreamt of hanging up his shoes post the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Lee Chong Wei has been receiving treatment at Taiwan for the past few months but things have not been smooth for the former World Number 1. Lee wanted to make a comeback in the All England Open in March 2019 and the Malaysian Open in April 2019, he failed to do so owing to health constraints. All of these reasons conglomerated into Lee Chong Wei's decision to retire before the 2020 Olympics.
Having dropped to the 191st rank now, Lee has not been to the badminton courts to train since April. It's a sad loss to the world of badminton to see a player like him having to retire due to unavoidable circumstances.
The only regret that he might have at the end of a glorious career is that he does not have an Olympic gold or a World title to his name despite his consistently excellent performace in them. Chong Wei has finished runner-up in his three world championships outings in London (2011), Guangzhou (2013) and Jakarta (2015).
Additionally, he was a three-time silver medallist in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.
Over the years, he has bagged 69 titles throughout his career. Lee won an incredible 47 titles in the now-defunct Superseries – the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) top-flight circuit. A true inspiration of the sport, badminton would not be the same without the Malaysian shuttlers beautiful net-play skills.
Lee Chong Wei has decided that he'll spend time with his family now- his wife and two children. The 36-year old also informed that he might be taking his wife for a honeymoon finally since their marriage in 2012. We wish Lee Chong Wei a healthy recovery period and all the best for the future ahead.