KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali, both expressed sadness at badminton ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei’s decision to retire but believe he made the right choice for his health.
In a video posted on Twitter, Dr Mahathir expressed his dismay that the country was losing its badminton champion to retirement but said he hoped this would allow Lee to recover from his nasal cancer.
“I thank Chong Wei for placing Malaysia on the global sports arena as a multiple-time champion.
“We will feel the loss of our champion as Chong Wei must retire,” Dr Mahathir said.
Dr Siti Hasmah, a former patron of the Badminton Association of Malaysia, appeared in the second half of the clip to console the country’s most decorated badminton player over missing out on the ultimate prize.
Lee came close repeatedly to bringing home the Olympic gold in the men’s singles event but was never successful.
“Datuk Chong Wei, you didn’t have the opportunity to win the Olympic gold. Never mind, Chong Wei, for me I think health is very, very important.
“Insha’allah, you will see your boys playing badminton and getting the Olympic gold for you when they have the chance to do so,” she said.
Dr Siti Hasmah then urged Lee to enjoy his time with him family.
Lee announced his retirement yesterday to cap a 19-year career during most of which he had been the country’s number one singles shuttler.