It was the men’s singles badminton final. No. 1 seed versus no.2 seed. World No. 1 versus world no.2. Malaysia versus China. Lee Chong Wei (LCW) versus Lin Dan (LD). A dream of a final for the Olympics 2012 London organizers and a dream of a final for the World Badminton Federation (WBF). A final to put right the debacle of the women’s doubles competition and for LCW to finally claim a first for Malaysia at the Olympics : a gold medal. And all this despite LCW almost not making it to the Olympics at all, due to his ankle and shoulder injuries.
The best of three final went all the way. LCW took the first set 21-15. The second set went to LD 21-10. And all now to be decided by the third and last set. Neck and neck, nothing it seems could separate the two, until LCW lifted the shuttle high up to the baseline and LD watched it landed out, giving LD the match and the Olympics gold medal for the second time in a row.
When the shuttle landed out, whilst LD went on a wild and rapturous celebration, LCW sank to his knees and with him, the hearts of Malaysians all over the country and elsewhere in the world sank with him. The disappointment of seeing LCW losing again to LD was, I guess, a bit too much for us to bear. But we knew deep in our hearts that LCW has given his all and that was all we could ever ask of him.
It was a thrilling final for badminton enthusiasts everywhere. BWF would have been very proud the way the final advertised all that is best in badminton. The rivalry, the skills, the characters. It was all there for all to see. And LD was gracious in victory, acknowledging the fighter that is LCW.
Badminton is a sport. And in all sports, when there is something at stake, there will always be a winner and likewise, there will always be a loser. This time around LD was the winner and LCW was the unfortunate loser. Not that LCW is a loser, far from it.
LCW, as always, was gracious after the match. He apologised to Malaysians for not winning the gold (which he need not have to). In fact, we Malaysians wish and ought to thank him for all his efforts and even though he came back with a silver, his welcome at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) reflected the feelings of all Malaysians. For 79 minutes, he united all Malaysians regardless of race, political inclinations and religion for the quest for Olympic gold, and when he finally lost our collective hearts cried for him. With him.
That is the Malaysian spirit, wanting to be the best and trying to be the best. Not everybody can achieve it but in LCW’s case, as they say, he fought the gallant fight and though he may have lost, he fought the fight gallantly.
So it’s a pity that despite the best efforts of LCW, and despite for 79 minutes when he united all Malaysians as one (well almost all apparently), there are still idiots out there who think they know better and who think they can do better. And ultimately, for good measure, both got told off by Malaysians by all walk of life to shut it before it stinks anymore to high heavens.
Funnily enough one was a politician and the other a wannabe God-knows-what. By all accounts, the politician got told off by even his own party DAP, never mind the public, and may even have to pay the price of his one-too-many-foolish tweets by being not nominated to defend his seat. First, the issue that is the Jalur Gemilang, the country’s national flag and now, after LCW has displayed the guts and the will to slug it for Malaysia’s honour in the international arena.
As for the wannabe, he has put his big foot in his big mouth once too often as well. He first created a furore by demeaning the Negara Ku when he was still a student in Taiwan and did his bit in damaging inter-racial relations in Malaysia when there was no controversy to begin with, and now, trying to damage the good and cordial relationship with China single-handedly by threatening to ‘wallop’ LD if he sets foot in Malaysia again. And in both cases, somebody else had to make the apologies to calm things down. First, it was his father (poor man, what has he done to deserve this?) and now LCW himself. Maybe his father should ‘wallop’ him to put some sense (and manners) into his head.
That being said, LCW can be proud of his achievements as we Malaysians are proud of him. And for the first time in a long time especially since 2008, we are united in first, giving our undivided support to LCW in his quest to win gold not only for himself BUT for the country, and secondly, to give the idiots what they so deserved : a good telling off.
Admittedly, both have apologised for their comments and actions. But seriously folks? Shoot first and then apologise? Please engage the brain first.
Long live Malaysia! And may good sense always prevail.