KUALA LUMPUR (June 14): Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has thanked badminton ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei for bringing glory to Malaysia, saying he was touched by his decision to retire yesterday.
“I hope he can get rest and recover from the disease he is suffering.
“I would like to thank Lee Chong Wei for repeatedly placing Malaysia as a ‘champion’ in the sports world.
“We will feel the loss of our champion because Chong Wei had to retire,” the prime minister said in his speech in a video clip posted on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube today.
The 1-min 58-sec video also features his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, who extended her well-wishes to the 37-year-old player.
“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.
She said Lee 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,” she added.
The former world number one announced his retirement yesterday after 19 years of 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.