When Datuk Lee Chong Wei was crowned the 2017 All England champion last Sunday, it almost felt like a movie unfolding into reality.
He was not even supposed to play!
The 34-year-old tore his medial collateral ligament (MC) in his left knee and needed about three to six weeks to recover. However, a second scan on his knee just a few weeks before All England convinced his medical team and coaches that Chong Wei was fit for the tournament in Birmingham.
We knew we could always count on Chong Wei to deliver and make us proud, and we did have faith in him. However, he was still fresh from injury and we tried not to get our hopes up.
Apart from the injury, Chong Wei also got into an altercation with Badminton Association of Malaysia’s technical director, Morten Frost. However, that was soon resolved with the introduction of a “Special Squad”, a team led by Hendrawan and Tey Seu Bock.
So we kept our fingers crossed. Round 1 and he was through. Round 2 and he was still going strong. Fast forward to the semi-finals and we would have been okay if the injury got the best of him. But no, he persevered, for the love of badminton, and for the love of Malaysians.
How is this even possible?
Eventually, he made it to the finals. Although we were denied a legendary clash between Chong Wei and China’s Lin Dan, it was still just as breath taking. This man was supposed to “unfit” for the tournament, but here he is, standing in the finals against all odds, going determined to put everything into it.
And it all culminated beautifully. Chong Wei proved himself way too superior for China’s Shi Yuqi, who went down 21-12, 21-10 to the 3-time All England champion. Chong Wei emerged victorious as he claimed his 4th All England title.
Now, doesn’t that feel like an inspirational Hollywood-type sports movie with the perfect ending?
The best part of all is this: Chong Wei has no plans to slow down. Initially, there were talks of this possibly being his last All England tournament, but we’re guessing that the dazzling feel of the trophy and the Malaysia national anthem playing in Birmingham changed Chong Wei’s mind; he said he’ll be back next year!
What’s next? Malaysian & Indian Open
Chong Wei’s next focus will be the Malaysian Open, where he’s looking to secure his 12th title.
“The Malaysian Open is very important for me. I will be preparing for the Indian Open first, and I hope I will get a good result!” The 34-year old 4-time All England champion said upon arriving in KLIA yesterday, accompanied by his wife and kids.
“I have about two week to prepare for both Malaysian and Indian open. I will be having a meeting with my coaches, Hendrawan and Tey Seu Bock to make sure we give it our best.” he added.
Thank you again, Datuk, and know that every Malaysian is proud of you and we will continue to shower you with unwavering support!