TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After a glorious 19-year career, Malaysian badminton great, Datuk Lee Chong Wei (李宗偉) announced his retirement at a press conference on Thursday (June 13).
“Today I want to announce my retirement,” said a clearly emotional Lee, “I think this decision is very, very tough.”
Lee is one of the greatest male badminton players in history. He was ranked world number one for 200 straight weeks from 2008-12 and won 69 major titles, including 47 in the super series, four All England Opens, and two Asian championships.
He has never won an Olympic gold medal or World Championship title. But he scored three Olympic silvers in 2008, 2012 and 2016, and three silvers and a bronze in the World Championships. He was aiming for an Olympic gold in 2020, after winning his 12th Malaysian Open title in July 2018.
In September 2018, the Badminton Association of Malaysia confirmed Lee was diagnosed with a nose cancer. He was treated in Taiwan and recovered well after the treatments.
Although he has been training for a comeback, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as his “target,” his doctors in Taiwan dissuaded him from intensive training after a follow-up examination this April.
“I do regret 100 percent that I could not win a gold (at the Olympics and World Championships),” said Lee. “But I hope another Malaysian can, and I will help towards that.”
“Badminton is my life. Now my health is the priority,” said the badminton legend.