Win and lose, such a fine and thin line. How true is that.
We witnessed a battle fought with determination sweat and tears, backed by support and overwhelming screams from 2 countries. We witnessed physical strength and mental calm (in suppressing fear and pressure) put to a grueling test. We witnessed the birth of the first Olympics badminton singles champion (Lin Dan) who managed to conquer the victorious spot consecutively. But of all, of everything, amongst the crowd and clamor of joy and victory, we witnessed the birth of a Hero who fought hard, fell and gained hearts of our whole Nation. The person who carried the pillar of unity, and had managed to hold it mighty high amidst defeat last night. Bitterness and disappointment clouded his vision and hopes, but what he didn’t see last night: we saw with our own eyes, felt with our hearts and embraced with our deepest and utmost gratitude.
Such a bittersweet moment. Bitter because one man’s dream to beat his nemesis, shattered and brought him down to his knees – by a teeny weeny margin of 2 points. 19-21 at the final rubber set – the determining point in time. It was so close yet so far. Sweet because that very nemesis who has been a rival, competitor and friend for 10 long years – came to him, comforted him and saluted him. That is why watching competitive sports can be an amusing and endearing thing (at times despite the bloody rivalry). Victory is celebrated, loss is lamented and weeped over, but what’s important, effort is given, sportsmanship is shown, and friendship is forged.
I haven’t always been an avid sports supporter, cos yeap I’m more of a glory chaser LOL but when it comes to Lee Chong Wei, it’s a tad different. Our country’s most prolific sportsman, credited with an honourable “Dato”, everyone knows him, from all facets of life, he’s a household name. Having carried the title of one of the best Malaysian badminton players of all time, it’s hard not to give the guy a wholesome bow, an acknowledgment of his hard work and effort.
I’m not sports critique, nor am I the least good in badminton, and my opinion on LCW not being as talented, skillful and mentally strong as Lin Dan may render my fellow Malaysians furious. I’ve witnessed many a times, when he’d lead and charge forward in the first game, and end up crumbling under pressure in the 2nd or rubber set. It’s saddening, some call it fate, because we all know he’s a great player, and who knows when we’ll be able to have a player like him, anymore, in future. I admit I’ve often lamented on his weakness in facing Lin Dan, in that his fear of this ferocious “monkey” as they call him here (no offense) always eats him alive. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true, and we all know it, no matter how we try to deny it blatantly out of patriotism or loyalty to our country.
But after last night, my admiration and respect for our Hero raise notches high. It’s not about the loss or the bitter end to his dream, it’s about his determination and his yearning to put our country on the top of the stand, to have our national anthem grace our ears for once in the Olympics. We have never achieved anything more than a Silver in all these years, it’s a very eager and some may say, a desperate call for victory. To have all that crash before his eyes, I can only imagine the tears and disappointment. When he fell on his knees, when his coaches rushed to his side to offer their consolation, when he embraced Lin Dan’s victorious hug, when he struggled to hold his tears on the podium, I literally had tears flood my eyes. China rejoiced because Lin Dan won, but we wept along with CW when he failed to make our country’s flag fly above others – just for once. I’m happy for Lin Dan, he deserved it (so as CW if luck had been on his side), they both had fought to death, and had given their best of their best. But what he did, that he never saw, we wept.
LCW went into the games with expectations to do well, but with no glaring hopes to win. He was charged up for the games, but unfortunately a torn ligament had to come in between his preparations just 2 months before the games. Recovery went well, but what took him through and through till the very end – his determination to put Malaysia on top for once. His hard work and effort, we all saw it. We may have had our doubts and our lack of empathy regarding his susceptibility to pressure and stage fright, but we know (altho we don’t see it) how much he has had to endure to come this far.
And after striving and thriving till the very end, after fighting blood pain and tears to give us the Silver medal (hence defending his title from Beijing if I may), something that we may never get to see in Badminton in ages to come, we got this tweet from him:
Malaysia wept even more. Because we AREN’T WORTHY. SO NOT WORTHY.
I’ve seen athletes and sportsmen cry, it’s emotional and it tears you apart. What you have given to reach this far, it’s not an ordinary feat. Some people cry because they’re expected to win, some people cry because they want to win, some people cry because the country wants them to win. But LCW cried because he wanted to win – FOR the country. And I dare say, that yearning to win for his Nation far exceeded his desire to beat Lin Dan. It could be anyone, it could be anywhere.
But that apology, it should not be uttered at all. It shouldn’t be. It’s the best moment of glory that no Malaysian sportsman has ever achieved in the Olympics 2012 thus far, it’s the best achievement from a badminton player thus far, why the heck did he have to apologise for something beautiful and memorable that he’d done for his country? Why why why? Because again, all he wanted was for Malaysia to be up there. Not just for himself, not just for his career record, but just for us. Have that!
We saw a man humble himself to the lowest before his country, we saw him cry for his country. Take some time to reflect, have we, ever done so? Have we ever? LCW, do not cry do not fret, for what you have done, far exceeded what many can. For what you have done, you did your best and gave your best. Like your other fellow Malaysian sportsmen in the Olympics, you all have done what can be done. It’s all in the heart.
What amazes me from reading about Lin Dan’s victory of LCW is that some people do harbor hate for this guy for having beaten LCW for the gold. Yes, he may be cocky with hubris up his back, he may be showy and tactless on court, but why the condemnation on fair play? Why the hate on someone who has helped LCW grow over 10 years? I think it’s silly to downgrade ourselves by chastising someone for being the better player, for having won and for having brought out the best in a rival, when obviously, they both have great respect for each other as rivals – as being the best in their era.
A message from Lin Dan’s fans group:
“Thank you Lee Chong Wei, we thank him for being a great and worthy competitor, we thank him for 10 years of company (with Lin Dan) –without Lee Chong Wei’s greatness, we wouldn’t have Lin Dan’s greatness; without Lee Chong Wei’s perseverance, we wouldn’t have the rise of Lin Dan. Lee Chong Wei missed his chance at his first Olympic gold, but he didn’t fail.”
A touching and endearing moment of appreciation, that’s the real spirit. Like-wise, it’s worth a note of appreciation to Lin Dan, to have him witness LCW’s growth all these years. Their rivalry spanning a decade may cease to continue, but I hope their friendship and bond will continue to last and fluorish into higher heights. Competition what? Medals what? Friendship FTW!
A look into one of your best rallies EVER, in light that we may never get to something like this again: –
LCW, you think you have failed to gain a Gold, we all think you have succeeded far beyond. You think you have failed our nation, we all think you did the impossible. A silver medal worth and evident of your hard work and determination, and a slight glimpse of hope and unity. We still have a long long way to go, but you gave us a tremendous boost that will help us reach further and higher.
Your loss will be remembered, not because of your defeat, but because of your endeavour to help Malaysia realise our dream. Because of your love for our country. Thank you so muccccccch, Lee Chong Wei! *SALUTE*
P/S: Also a hurray and shout-out to all of our fellow countrymen who have not been able to succeed in the Olympics, your efforts and hard work – SALUTE & THANKS!
Me? I’ll just go back to my dramas LOL…
credits: photos as tagged / kashien@ youtube