National badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei has been hailed as “a hero to Malaysians” for his brave attempt at clinching Malaysia's first Olympics gold medal.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Chong Wei had merely lost “by a whisker” to his arch-rival and World No 1 Lin Dan in the rubber game.
“Although he lost, what was important is that he went down fighting with dignity. He may not have won a gold for Malaysia, but his exemplary sportmanship has in brought the country to greater heights and respected as a force to be reckoned with,” Najib said after performingterawih prayers at a mosque here.
In PUTRAJAYA, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Chong Wei had gone all out in his bid for the gold medal.
“Perhaps luck was not on our side but no matter what, we congratulate him, who I see has played bermati-matian (with all his might) in his quest to clinch the first (Olympics) gold for Malaysia.
“Lin Dan has his strengths but Chong Wei was also prepared. We hope his achievement will motivate more Malaysian athletes to reach for the gold,” said Muhyiddin who sat through the match after breaking fast with 107 children from Rumah Nur Hikmah and Badan Amal Nur Zaharah at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.
Children and adults alike at the event abandoned the buffet line to watch the match, televised live.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said Chong Wei did “a marvellous job”.
“I admire his fighting spirit. He never gave up,” he said.
In BUTTERWORTH, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state was proud of its “homeboy” for putting up “a brilliant fight”, adding that despite his loss, Chong Wei remained the only Malaysian to win two Olympic silver medals.
“We share his disappointment but we are still proud of him,” he said after watching the match at Ng Yam Huat food court off Jalan Raja Uda.