Malaysia's badminton king hangs up his racket

Lee Chong Wei, 36, overcome by emotion at a news conference in Putrajaya yesterday to announce his retirement. His hopes of qualifying for next year's Tokyo Olympics had been dashed by health issues following a battle with nose cancer.
Lee Chong Wei, 36, overcome by emotion at a news conference in Putrajaya yesterday to announce his retirement. His hopes of qualifying for next year's Tokyo Olympics had been dashed by health issues following a battle with nose cancer.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Malaysia's badminton king Lee Chong Wei announced his retirement yesterday, as prolonged health issues after battling nose cancer dashed his hopes of qualifying for next year's Tokyo Olympics.

The 36-year-old, who won 69 singles titles but lost six world and Olympic finals, opted to quit after being told by doctors that his body could no longer take the intense training needed for high-level competition.

"It was a very heavy decision for me because I really love this sport, but the important thing now is my health," a tearful Lee told a news conference. His rivalry with Chinese shuttler Lin Dan, whom he lost to in four world and Olympic finals, is considered to be the greatest in the sport.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2019, with the headline 'Malaysia's badminton king hangs up his racket'. Print Edition | Subscribe