My best moment

Getting high on the duel

As a photographer, unforgettable moments come to me through the viewfinder, and the moments after Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei finally defeated his long-time arch-rival Lin Dan of China were something to behold.

It was a mere Olympic semi-final, yet felt like a climactic showdown between two badminton titans.

In sports photography, competition brings out the best emotions among sportsmen, whether they are winning or losing. In major competitions, emotions are always raw and candid because athletes give their all. Rarely do hard work and perseverance mean so much.

I decided to head up to the stands for a top-down angle of the both of them and the court. The focus was always going to be on Lee: Whether he would be beaten again, or whether he would rise to the occasion.

There was no way of predicting exactly what was going to happen and it was a gamble for me not being courtside and closer to the pair.


One of the more memorable moments of the Rio Games, as Lee Chong Wei (front) sinks to his knees in joy after finally beating Lin Dan in the men’s singles semi-finals. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Still, I wanted a clean angle where I was able to capture both of them in the frame - regardless of who won.

And those shots, taken in the few seconds when Lee dropped to his knees, then jumped and thrusted his fists in jubilation, showed vividly how much this final chance at an Olympic gold meant to him and what overcoming Lin meant.

And with Lin in the shot, it was a great summation of their legendary rivalry which captured the imagination of badminton fans worldwide.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2016, with the headline 'Getting high on the duel'. Print Edition | Subscribe