A silver for Lee Chong Wei, a gold for Malaysia

I don’t consider myself a patriotic Malaysian but sometimes, when things like Datuk Lee Chong Wei playing the finals of Men’s Singles Badminton at London 2012 Olympics today, every Malaysian tunes in to watch, we’re just sort of… united.

The last minute of Malaysia VS China in Men’s Singles Badminton was the most depressing thing I’d ever seen. Lee Chong Wei was so close to the gold! My heart just ripped in two when I saw him crouching on the ground while Lin Dan did a victory lap. And we all know that he put up a pretty awesome fight during the game despite his ankle injury which he got during the Thomas Cup. Anyone who had been watching would realise that he was way better than the usual him, he was aggressive, he smashed a lot, he ran and tried to save all the serves from Lin Dan. Frankly, I had never seen him in such a good condition. And the first game was nicely done.

Well, second match was a bit of disappointment but the third was the best. He was way better than in previous games, matching Lin Dan point for point. It was very intense. In the past, Lin Dan would’ve won him by a large margin. And now, Lin Dan was quite taken aback by his awesome skills and spirit. Another thing was, Lin Dan was sort of careless and impatient. I mean, he kept shooting out! Good thing is Lee Chong Wei has very good judgement of distances, so he didn’t hit the out balls, though since he relied on it too much, he sometimes mistook the in balls for out.

It was such a devastating moment to witness a man that carried on his shoulders the weight of 28 million Malaysian hopes and dreams lost by a mere 2 points (21-19). 28 million Malaysian hearts were broken that night. But in my point of view, the fact that he was injured and yet he could still hold up to the third set and missed the gold by just 2 points, he didn’t lose it all. He is hailed as a true Malaysian hero. Who cares about the gold and the damn Baskin-Robbins ice cream seriously? We know he had won, millions of hearts from all over the world.

The world would have seen an olympian jumping for joy had Lee Chong Wei striked gold. But no one, then, would have been able to see the other side of him, a human being beaten to his knees. Maybe it’s best that Lee Chong Wei won silver. Maybe that should have been the way. No one would have been able to see his heart as intimately otherwise. No one would have known how badly he wanted the Negaraku played in Wembley Stadium. And gold might not have opened the floodgates of support as much as silver did. Lee Chong Wei’s greatest victory was uniting Malaysian sentiment, and that is something only a broken hero could fulfil.

A silver for Lee Chong Wei, a gold for Malaysia.

Right after Lee Chong Wei lost to Lin Dan, he tweeted “I’m sorry”.

It’s so sad because it’s like he thinks he owes the nation and that he has disappointed us all. It’s not the fact that not getting the gold that breaks our hearts, it’s the pain of having to see our hero apologized and has tears streaming down his face after fighting so hard for Malaysia. Lee Chong Wei has made Malaysia proud so many times and he tried his best in this game though he was still recovering from injury. For this, I don’t feel like being a Malaysian if i don’t dedicate a write-up for Lee Chong Wei. He is our true hero, trying his best to win the gold medal. A hero that brings up the name of Malaysia in the eye of the world.

He has improved a lot since Beijing 2008 Olympics and he honestly had the full chance of getting the gold. It wasn’t impossible, or even a dream.

林丹:感谢李宗伟了,感谢这个伟大的对手,感谢十年的相伴 — 没有李宗伟的伟大,就没有林丹的伟大;没有李宗伟的执着,就没有林丹的升华。李宗伟与自己的奥运第一金擦肩而过,但是他没有失败。
<转自微博>
Lin Dan: Thank you very much, Lee Chong Wei, Thank you for being such a noble and worthy opponent, and thank you for 10 years of company – without Lee Chong Wei’s worthiness, there will not be any Lin Dan’s worthiness; without Lee Chong Wei’s persistence and perseverance, there will not be any progression for Lin Dan. Lee Chong Wei missed his first Gold Medal, but he didn’t fail.
<Reblog from weibo>

Glorious. He’s going to retire now, and he’s currently our only medallist, but I don’t even care. I wanted Lee Chong Wei to win for himself. I’d have loved for my country to create history by getting a gold for the first time in Olympics, but no one deserved that gold medal more than Lee Chong Wei, and I wish he could have won it for himself. I’m pretty sure at this moment, every single Malaysian would have given up any number of things for Lee Chong Wei to win that medal for himself.

“All Lin Dan wants is a gold medal but all Lee Chong Wei wants is Negaraku to be played in London.”

And such a humble guy he is. He cried because he thought he has failed. He thought he has shattered his country’s dream of the first ever Olympic gold. He thought he broke 28 million Malaysian hearts that night. For the fact that he cried and apologized for getting silver medal again, that’s just devastating and utterly heart-wrenching.

Utterly heart-wrenching to see this. But I am so unbelievably proud of Datuk Lee Chong Wei. I am truly proud to be a Malaysian and he made me realize that with his winning. I was surprised at how much pride for the country I have with the win.

But the tears of a hero brought the nation together. Tears that united 28 million people of Malaysia better than any politician can. Even an Olympic gold medal can’t win over these tears.

Thank you for representing the underdogs. Thank you for fighting so hard, for facing Goliath, for reassuring the world that it’s okay to be low at times, and for picking yourself up. Thank you most of all for your meekness. You were so humble as World No. 1, and I could not have respected you more for that. You may not win an Olympic gold. But guess what, you didn’t need to. You carry with a heart of pure, solid gold. You are, just as you are, a gold medal for Malaysia.

It’s okay without Negaraku. Seeing our Malaysian flag raised at Wembley Stadium during the Olympics makes me proud.
ESPN commentator
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