Cancer-stricken Chong Wei hangs up racquet after 19 years

An emotional Lee Chong Wei at the press conference at Menara KBS today, where he announced his retirement after 19 years in badminton. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, June 13, 2019.

LEE Chong Wei today announced his retirement from professional badminton, citing his health as the main factor.

Chong Wei was diagnosed with nose cancer in July last year. The 36-year-old former world No. 1 is quitting the sport after an illustrious 19-year career.

“Today, everyone knows more or less my intention for calling this press conference. I would like to announce that I’m retiring from the sport after 19 years,” he announced in a press conference at Menara KBS in Putrajaya today.

“It was a tough decision to make, but I was left with no option after my recent consultation with doctors in Japan last month.

“I was given eight questionnaires to answer about my condition, and the outcome came out to show that I’m not fit to do high-intensity activities.

“So, it’s not suitable for me to exert myself for the sake of my health.

“I want to thank you, Malaysians.

“I want to thank a lot of people at KBS (Youth and Sports Ministry), ISN (National Sports Institute). I want to thank all my coaches Misbun Sidek, Tey Seu Bock,” said an emotional Chong Wei. 

Also present at the press conference were Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Norza Zakaria.

Following his treatment in Taiwan, Chong Wei announced in November last year that he would make a comeback, and aimed for next year’s Tokyo Olympics as a last shot to win a gold medal.

He then resumed training in early January and planned a competitive return at the All-England in March and Malaysian Open in April, but that did not work out.

More recently, his on-off short training stints were also disrupted. He had not been seen on a badminton court for six weeks.

His last competitive action was at the Indonesian Open in July last year, which saw him drop to 191st in the world.

He is a three-time silver medallist in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016. He has also not won the world title, finishing runner-up in London (2011), Guangzhou (2013) and Jakarta (2015).

In his glittering career, Chong Wei bagged 69 titles, including 46 titles in the now-defunct Superseries – the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) top-flight circuit.

He also spent 349 weeks, including a 199-week streak from 2008-2012 as the world No. 1.

The Perak-born badminton superstar is married to former national shuttler Wong Mew Choo, and they have two children, six-year-old Kingston and four-year-old Terrance. – June 13, 2019.

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  • This is so sad... Thank you Dato' LCW. #OurHero

    Posted 5 years ago by Z Azmyl · Reply

  • You have sacrificed a lot for the nation not to mentioned bringing our nation to a standing in the badminton world and we know you must have explore all possible options available before calling it a day. You can walk tall DLCW as you have given your best to the nation and with this we thank you from the bottom of our hearts and mind.

    Posted 5 years ago by Teruna Kelana · Reply

  • You have to respect the advice of your doctors on your health condition. It's too bad that you are stricken with this illness. Many appreciate your sacrifices to the nation and at the same time feel very sad. May God Bless you for your longevity of life with your two kids an your beautiful wife.

    Posted 5 years ago by Swaminaidu Venkatasamy · Reply

  • 19 years in badminton is heck of a lots of time spent. You earn a rest and it is enough. Now is for the younger ones to shine.

    Posted 5 years ago by Lee Lee · Reply

  • Indeed you are truly Malaysia's hero for giving us many happy and proud moments whenever you were on the badminton courts battling to bring glory to yourself and Malaysia. Our prayers will always be for you to win this battle against cancer.

    Posted 5 years ago by Citizen Pencen · Reply

  • Dato Lee Cheong Wei. You have earned my utmost respect and admiration. Thank you for making Malaysia great in the badminton arena and thank you for being a source of inspiration to all Malaysians.

    You are truly a living legend...

    Posted 5 years ago by Azhar Ameir · Reply